Holistic health and wellness

🌹”You can’t force a rosebud to blossom by hitting it with a hammer.”
Rachel Naomi Remend, MD
I’ve embarked on a new journey which includes studying to be a holistic health coach. I am excited and I will be very busy (I’m working part time teaching this school year and now studying for this certificate program) so I may not be posting much except to share some of what I am learning and working at living out myself. I just completed the first module and one of the best quotes in it was this one above. I want to become the type of coach who can support with hope, compassion, and education and Not judgement and dictating. Ultimately, we are all unique and we know what we need to thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s not all about the food and in fact it is more about what is OFF the plate that will inform what goes ON the plate.
To health, healing, happiness, and hope!❤️🙏🏾

Nali’s Beefless Teriyaki Stir Fry

Oil-free prepared vital gluten with vegetables

2 C vital wheat gluten flour (Bob’s Redmill brand or Anthony’s)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Onion powder

Italian seasoning or all purpose seasoning

Garlic powder

2 cups water (add water last)

If you want it thicker, add less water.

Mix well. It should be stretchy. Put aside.

Put to boil

6 cups water

1/8 to 1/3 cup liquid aminos (depending on sodium amount tolerated(

2 Tablespoons date syrup

When the liquid mixture is boiling, add pieces of the gluten mix to it. Add pieces as small as a half tablespoon as they will inflate while boiling. Let boil for about 20 minutes until cooked through.

Preheat oven to 350. Put parchment paper on baking sheet. Use slotted spoon to put gluten on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. If not stir frying, you can add teriyaki glaze, stir, then bake.

In stone pan, dry sautée mixed stir fry vegetables (mushrooms, onions, peppers, broccoli, green beans, etc.). You can use frozen bags of stir fry. Add baked gluten. Add salt-free seasoning like Mexican Fiesta, Italian Seasoning, all purpose seasoning, onion powder, and nutritional yeast.

Add teriyaki glaze (1/8–1/4 cup liquid aminos, 1–2 T date syrup, 1 T lemon powder) to pan and stir well to coat everything. Cook for a few more minutes so that the flavor goes through.

The Gadget Queen’s Guide to Gadgets for Small, Safe, Outdoor, Family, Physical-Distancing Events

© 9-13-2020, by Nalida E. Lacet Besson

Years ago I published my book “The Gadget Queen™: 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life” (Copyright 2004 by Nalida L. Besson) with National Braille Press. Today the Gadget Queen is back in the age of the pandemic to talk about how to “gather” without actually “gathering” closely to keep from potentially spreading the virus. Besides having virtual videoconferencing get-togethers with various themes (that will be a more in-depth article for another time), as the year grows colder and darker in many places and Fall and Winter holidays approach, we want to maintain—or begin if you haven’t already done so—virtual videoconferencing meet ups with family and friends where we chat, play games, do recipe baking clubs, have book club discussions, and my family’s favorite-Karaoke Night! But virtual is not always enough for people because we are naturally made to be with other people. 

We know that people who live in the so-called Blue Zones have a longer life expectancy and experience more joy not only because they consume a mostly plant-centered diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, but also because they tend to live closely with family and have close-knit communities. Even in my community of Dorchester in Boston, multi-family houses used to be rich with family—grandma and grandpa living upstairs, cousins downstairs, and in-laws next door or across the street. In this age of mostly every family unit for itself and everyone working multiple shifts and doing their own things, we have, for the most part lost that sense of connection, family and community which Dr. Dean Ornish’s research agrees can give us love and joy and increase our lifespan as well as improve our quality of life. So as we enjoy virtual videoconferencing events such as Zoom Bingo night, we also may want to consider safe physical distancing events in small pods/groups. But how do we do it without the dangers we have been reading about when groups meet but several people become infected despite being outside and wearing masks, sometimes with face shields, and maintaining at least 6-feet distancing? We have to work at it! Each household unit can have it’s own group of materials to succeed with safe pod/group gatherings. Below are some ideas to consider. Disclaimer: This is not a suggestion for anyone to meet up nor is this an endorsement of any product discussed here. This is merely an article to help us think outside the box and continue to meet our need for human connections in this age of pandemics. So let’s clear the yard of leaves or snow or find a safe, large area of a neighborhood park and consider the safest pod gatherings you’ll ever hear about from The Gadget Queen! 

My backyard is a decent size for myself, my husband and our three kids but not overly large. If we had a family pod gathering, we would have to keep it to two, maybe three small pod/groups. Since it is our yard, we would use our outdoor tent-igloo and maybe even set up clothesline rope with clear plastic shower curtains across our area of the yard, marking a physical distance where we could walk around outside our clear tent-igloo. We might even run another clothesline from the middle of our clothesline to the other side of the yard (so it is now in the form of a “T”) and run clear curtains down the middle to separate and accommodate two more groups of family (other family or friend(s) who are already living and quarantining together). Now, this is key: Each group would have to purchase their own smaller, portable, quick pop-up pod-tents and folding camp chairs, pop-up privacy tents (with folding potty chairs and supplies) to put to the side of their smaller, portable, clear pod-tents, and their own meals. Since we have extra outdoor tables and chairs in our yard, we would sanitize and leave one in each pod area and people could bring their own tablecloths to set up their food in their outdoor areas. All their supplies can fit in a large, rolling duffle bag. We could all talk, laugh, and eat “together” but distantly and enjoy some time together safely. It may seem like a hassle and not worth it but after the initial individual family purchases that will not break the bank (for the most part) and initial set up, it will be well-worth the effort to re-connect as closely as we physically can! 

Possible Gadgets to Pull This Off:

  1. Alvantor Winter Screen House Room Camping Tent Canopy Gazebos 4-6 Person for Patios, Large Oversize Weather Pod, Premium Greenhouse Instant Pop Up Tent, Snow and Rain Protection Beige 10’×10′ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YZ2KTTJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_BgJxFbESX603T

This clear igloo-tent in my backyard with a table and two chairs inside. Our plan is to add more chairs during the late Fall and Winter when we gather inside from the snow. It is actually very warm in there in the summer if it is zipped up so it should hold some heat in colder weather with everyone wearing warm clothing.

2. Under the Weather MyPodDoubleX Pop-up Weather Pod. The Original, Patented WeatherPod https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PC3LKY9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_qdJxFbKJMNZR1

These Weather Pods are sold in single and double models and can sometimes be connected to accommodate more family household members.  They literally set up in seconds! They were originally made for people to attend outdoor sports or musical events and be able to still enjoy the events but stay out of the elements (cold, rain, or snow). Now they can be used to get some sunlight on a dark Fall or Winter day and not freeze if you don’t have an enclosed patio and be used as a traveling outdoor pod-room for small, distanced, outdoor gatherings. My family and I would still bring our masks and face shields for when we are outside and also always make sure we are set more than 6 feet away from another pod and not directly facing but instead in a wide triangular angle to still see and hear one another if we were to travel with a weather pod.

3. Trademark Innovations 31.5″H Loveseat Style Double Camp Chair with Steel Frame https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWBI66G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_2wJxFbWXCQABR

I do not have this specific double chair myself. We do have individual folding camping/outside chairs that are lightweight and portable in a tube bag with a sling. We bought them years ago in a department store.

4. Portable Camping Table,Aluminum Folding Table Ultralight Camp Table with Carry Bag Collapsible Table Top for Picnic,Cooking,Camping,Beach,Festival https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SB3CFPR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_cyJxFbDT1Z8AR

The small camping table can be useful if you go to a pod/group gathering where there is not a table for you to use. It won’t hold much but you can at least put some covered container(s) of food on it.

5. YUNLIGHTS 2-in-1 Solar Bug Zapper LED Camping Lantern, Portable Waterproof Mosquito Killer Lamp with 3 Lighting Modes and USB Charging for Indoor, Outdoor, Home, Hiking, Fishing, Emergency https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VZPFJJ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_o1JxFb1MGB574

We have two of these. We keep them charged with the USB during the day but they can also be charged with the sun during the day and be ready to light up at night.  They are surprisingly bright and great as an extra source of light when it gets darker.

6. Solar Lights Outdoor [42 LED/3 Working Mode], SEZAC Solar Security Lights Solar Motion Sensor Lights Wireless IP 65 Waterproof Outdoor Lights for Garden Fence Patio Garage (6 Pack) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XJHND3T/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_K8KxFbCV9NJXK

We have TONS of these solar lights around the yard and toward the back of the house and they add nice lighting when it gets dark. We keep them on the second setting so that there is always dim light but the light will get stronger when there is motion.

7. Patio Heater-Trustech Space Heater Infrared Heater w/Remote, 24 Timing Auto Shut Off Radiant Heater, 500/1000/1500W, Super Quiet 3s Instant Warm Vertical Electric Heater for Big Room Backyard https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BCKNZY5/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_2sJxFbN31XJYG

Lots of people are getting heat lamps or outdoor heaters to enjoy the outdoor space more during the cold months. Look for the right one for you if you have a safe area to run it to help warm the outdoor air around you a bit (but not in a tent or weather pod).

8. KingCamp Pop Up Dressing Changing Tent Shower Room Detachable Floor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073FBGCJ1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_XTJxFbZQV575T

Okay, people will have to use the bathroom at some point and you don’t want to risk people touching the same services and risking contagion. Even though it may sound extreme, it actually is no more extreme than having an outdoor porta-potty. The advantage here is that no one needs to enter the host’s house and risk/give any exposure either way. To have privacy, just open up an easy pop up changing tent and put one of the portable toilet solutions inside. Don’t forget to bring along supplies, including hand sanitizing wipes.

9. Flexzion Outdoor Portable Toilet – Travel Mobile Toilet Potty Seat w/ Large 5.3 Gal Water Tank & 3 Gal Waste Holding Tank, 3-Way Flush, Cover and for Camping Hiking RV Travel Boat Outdoors Hiking Trip https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PZJSBCT/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_hDJxFb6M4VED3

This system is a little pricier than the solutions below but is an all-in-one system that is a little fancier for those who want to make that investment and who know they may also go camping or travel via RV sometimes.

10. 5 Gallon White Bucket & Lid – Durable 90 Mil All Purpose Pail – Food Grade – BPA Free Plastic– https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A1LUFEY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_aFJxFbPM8N3V6

So the cheaper outdoor toileting system starts with a regular bucket….

11. Reliance – Sturdy Bucket Toilet Seat – Will NOT Buckle – fits Any 3,4,5-Gallon Bucket – 14 3/4″ x 13 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ #9880-01 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QH9RG3M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_oGJxFb2Y49SYX or https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RZQBQNH/ref=sspa_dk_detail_3?psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExWktFV1VVTzQyN0QwJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDQwOTM3MlRISE81OTVOTzdUUiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODg0NTc0MVZXNDY2TTNCU1hUTiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbDImYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

Added to the bucket is a toilet seat made for buckets ….

12. Portable Toilet Replacement Bags 100% Compostable Bags for Portable Toilet Chair,15 Count, ASTM D6400 and OK Compost Home Certified – by Green Elephant https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079N33LKC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_8GJxFbY23A37T

And finish up with portable toilet compostable bags to keep things cleaner if multiple people in your group need to use the bathroom.

13. Eco Gel Port-A-Potty and Emergency Toilet Chemicals, Eco-Friendly Liquid Waste Gelling and Deodorizing Powder. Available in Single, 2, 3, 4, 30, and Case Packs https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074GSGHJZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_1FJxFb97Q5917

The eco gel will just help make things fresher and more manageable.

14. Green Elephant Folding Commode Portable Toilet Seat – Porta Potty and Commode Chair – Comfort Chair Perfect for Camping, Hiking, Trips, Construction Sites, and More https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MSOWG7U/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_oIJxFbV1XNCXW

If you want an easier system than the bucket and seat with bag, but a cheaper alternative than the portable flushing toilet in number 8, then the folding commode with bags may be the way to go. Buy get the eco gel too.

15. SereneLife Portable Camping Sink w/ Towel Holder & Soap Dispenser – 19L Water Capacity Hand Wash Basin Stand w/ Rolling Wheels – For Outdoor Events, Gatherings, Worksite & Camping – SLCASN18,White https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075DP3KV9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_uRJxFbZRADAS9

This camping sink that is handsfree for pumping the water is something to consider as an extra handwash station for the other pod/group members who are visiting and want to wash their hands with water and not just use their own water supply or hand sanitizer when they use their porta-potty systems or are going to eat.

16. https://www.amazon.com/Touchless-Liquid-Hand-Sanitizer-Dispenser/dp/B088VW64LQ/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&aaxitk=Ou7A0BjOjQc9vIK16d4xEQ&hsa_cr_id=2762487610301&pd_rd_r=0dd8c02f-8034-467f-bd67-1fb35265b4fb&pd_rd_w=x9tUE&pd_rd_wg=Jrt97&ref_=sbx_be_s_sparkle_mcd_asin_0_title

And to make hand cleaning completely touchless, add the touchless soap/sanitizer dispenser to the touchless water sink or as just a stand-alone.

So here you go! 16 gadgets and ideas to consider for safe, outdoor, physically-distanced events! Whatever you decide to do or get, just remember safety first and think outside-the-box!

Gratitude for day-to-day abstinence

As my workout shirt says “Pray Train Conquer Repeat.” I have to start with prayer because I can only do it through God’s grace. I did my daily normal strength training and aerobics but added a more intense step aerobics by going old school with the Reebok Step video I found on YouTube! That was WORK! But I loved it! It’s a journey one day at a time. And I’m grateful for God’s love and mercy no matter how many times I’ve fallen to help me rise up and keep going on this journey. And I’m grateful for the day-to-day and minute-by-minute God-given gift of abstinence from trigger foods where we don’t have to feel overwhelmed about whether or not we’ll fail tomorrow but instead pray, plan to succeed in the moment, and accept God’s gift.


Me in my small home gym before my workout Saturday
Reebok Steps video
Me about 9 years ago

“Fear is not sustainable. Joy and pleasure are.” Dr. Dean Ornish

Many of us begin this lifestyle change because of fear of a current or future illness that was limiting or would limit our time with our families and friends. But fear really is Not sustainable as Dr. Ornish says. That’s why we have to get to the root of our eating issues and as Dr. Rhona Epstein says find and abstain from our food triggers (no matter if it’s technically “compliant” but we Know it doesn’t work for us); get help and support for lasting change; AND stick to our unique plans and honestly tweak as needed EVEN WHEN we are not losing weight in the way we expect to. Make a commitment to stick with it and give your body time to heal from the effects of food addiction and/or to undo the damage. And Speaking of undoing, Dr. Ornish and his wife Anne wrote a wonderful book called “Undo It!” worth reading. It emphasizes the four lifestyle changes one must make to reverse most chronic diseases—eat well, move more, stress less, and love more (be involved with family, friends/community).


On Releasing Food Triggers Not Just To Lose Excess Weight But To Gain Greater Sanity and Peace With Food And Life

On Releasing Food Triggers Not Just To Lose Excess Weight But To Gain Greater Sanity and Peace With Food And Life

There are many WFPB success stories and I love to read/listen to/watch them and be more inspired and hopefully learn from them too. Believe me, none of us who have lost a substantial amount of weight are perfect. And it’s not about being perfect. My belief is that God is perfect and that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13). That’s my belief and that’s why I always say I’m Plant Based by God’s Grace. Most (maybe not all but most) of us are food addicts. If we’ve read The Pleasure Trap, or The End of Overeating, we can’t deny it and if we do deny it, we’re only lying to ourselves. Even those of us who have lost a substantial amount of weight still have a battle.

But this is what I have found has made the battle SO much lighter and easier One Day At a Time: letting go of my trigger foods. Period. Reading Dr. Rhona Epstein’s Food Triggers and continually praying and following through has helped me tremendously. I don’t care if peanut butter or whole grain flour or Ezekiel bread is so-called “compliant” if it doesn’t work for ME. I know MY body. We all know our bodies. If all the rules I set around it don’t work and I still overeat on it consistently, then it is a trigger food, and I’ll go as far as to say an idol food for me personally, and one that I have to let go. And if the thought of letting it go makes me panic even more, then that’s a sign that I AM truly addicted to it.

Letting go of my final stronghold of “compliant” trigger food late this summer (PB I let go of many months ago but others I held on to), is one of the BEST things I’ve ever done!! And believe it or not, it’s not just the extra fat that is slowly coming off (while that feels good too), it’s the peace and relief from the constant mental battle that is priceless and oh so worth it!! PLEASE read the literature on food addiction to understand the chemical issues affecting the brain and how to overcome it.

Be at peace with food if you already aren’t. Be free to eat for health and concentrate on other things in life and thrive and not even have to stress over or overthink food at all. Seek counseling if you need to deal with past trauma; let go of toxic shame that doesn’t belong to you; and seek counseling around your addictions (food And including other substances/behaviors). It is SO worth it. YOU are so worth it!!


{ Check out this Idea List on Amazon: Food Addiction or Food Issues Must-Have/Must-Read List by N.B. http://a.co/h7JNXuw }

FYI, I’m not making one cent off of any of these recommendations. They are just books that have helped me and many others.

New Workouts—Fueled by Plants and Grace

It’s been a busy time preparing for school/work and starting but thankfully I’ve been keeping up with my workouts. I LOVE step aerobics and took classes many years ago so I’m back to doing it again but solo in my home gym. Today I tried my newest workout DVD. It’s a high intensity walk (with other aerobic movement) video by Jessica Smith. Those familiar with fitness expert Jessica Smith know she will Make you work 😆 and you won’t be disappointed. I highly recommend this DVD. Then I did some strength training, adding in squats and a segment of the butt lift video to support my lower back. And later, I took two walking breaks outdoors while waiting for my car to be repaired.

Fueled by clean, nutrient-rich, whole plant foods 🌱 🥗 🍠 🥕 🥦 🍌


Spiritual Breakthrough for Food Addiction

Spiritual Breakthrough for Food Addiction

Last night I watched the story of Paul Mason who at one point was dubbed “Britain’s fattest man.” My heart went out to him. He weighed well over 700 pounds and was housebound as well as bedridden. He lost his family home, family, friends, and his dignity but still couldn’t stop binging and eating junk foods. He looked at past pictures when he was at a regular weight and cried about how he should have reached out for help when stress, anxiety, and sadness were leading him down this path. But he didn’t until it was almost too late, cost him years of living his best life, and almost cost him his life completely. There by the grace of God go I and you.

Many of us know WHAT to eat, WHEN we should eat (Not constant snacking even if healthy and on our food plan/way of eating, but regular meals instead), and WHY we should eat (nourishment and hunger), but still struggle. You can be thin (it’s not all about weight) and still be addicted to some sort of “comfort” food, even if it’s potatoes or bananas. Yes, that’s healthier then the highly processed foods being advertised as comfort food but especially when we find that we still can’t reach our health, wellness, and/or weight loss goals or even if we do reach them and Still thinking of food too much and letting it become an idol, it’s time to humble ourselves, go to God in prayer, seek counseling for trauma and even daily anxieties, reach out to someone for support Before reaching for food for comfort (thanks to technology there are support groups online and messenger systems to find a few friends when needed to talk to), and stay the course or recommit when we need too. I love Dr. Rhona Epstein’s books, especially Food Triggers, because she addresses the spiritual aspects and breakthroughs from food addiction that can finally set us free. We are worth it. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. They deserve better. See Dr. Rhona’s book as well as this short video for a summary.



What are you willing to give up?

What are you willing to give up?

“Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that made him sick.”


What are you willing to give up to reclaim your health—not just lose weight, but Reclaim your Health? Does that question make your heart jump? Are you afraid to give up whatever processed food or food-like substances that hold you in their grip?

What if the question were reframed a new way? Are you willing to give up chronic pain? Are you willing to give up high blood pressure? Are you willing to give up pre-diabetes? Are you willing to to give up GERD/Acid Reflux? Are you willing to give up a family legacy of obesity, extreme pain and suffering from chronic, diet and lifestyle related illnesses? And are you willing to give up fear and take a leap of faith that this lifestyle will help to heal you? My husband and I gave up all of that, by God’s grace.

You have so much more to gain after giving up the causes of illness.


Normal Eater, Emotional Eater, or Food Addict? Which type are You?

Three Types of Eaters

Normal Eater, Emotional Eater, or Food Addict? Which are you?

See the article below, including the chart with similarities and differences. You cannot successfully tackle your weight and health issues until you are brutally honest with yourself and then know that you DO have the power to make a positive change with the right mindset, resources, and by God’s grace. Knowing this and understanding why some can just adopt a WFPB diet and be successful right away and long term and why others struggle and yo-yo UNTIL they understand and deal with emotional and addictive eating and abstain from trigger foods (sugar, oil, salt, alcohol if you’re still drinking, flours—even whole grain flours for many, etc.) is the key to success. Don’t let fear of “giving up” certain foods keep you from ACHIEVING health, wellness, and fitness.