Granola bars make a great snack, that can be high in protein and provide much energy.  The recipe in itself is not that terrible, but it could provide more nutrition by adding some dried fruit.  For example, try adding goji berries, raisins, blueberries, or cranberries.  Also, if there is a way to just use one form of sugar so that you can decrease the sugar content. I would suggest just using honey, specifically purchasing raw organic honey (local if possible). You can also add ripe bananas which will add sweetness and a different flavor.  In addition, adding another protein source would be nice. You can try nuts or nut butters such as almond or peanut butter (for those without allergies), and for those who cannot have nuts try adding seeds, such as hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds (not Amelia-Safe).  For a nice omega-boost, add flaxseeds. Try unsweetened coconut shreds for healthy fat, fiber, and added vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, and calcium, and selenium.  And for a a chocolate taste, try adding cacao nibs!  They are truly a superfood packed with antioxidants, even higher than blueberries and goji berries, and they are delicious too!
I think coming up with a gluten-free option would be ideal since more and more people are eating gluten-free. That should be rather simple, just removing the wheat flour. Do you think you have to have the flour?
Keep us posted. Perhaps you can get Ella to enjoy goji berries by hiding them in the granola bars :)
Posted on 2/9/2012 12:00 AM

Categories: Videos

Tags: video blog
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We would like to introduce you to a new addition to our Organic Health Institute family,  The Girls, Gretchen, Ella, and Amelia, along with Adam, the husband and dad.  They will be posting some of their favorite recipes to share with other families. The recipes will vary, and some of them may look familiar to some of you.  The goal of The Girls is to find healthier alternatives to some of their favorite dishes, without affecting the flavor in a negative way.  As all of you parents out there know, getting your children to eat healthy foods and make healthy food choices can be quite the challenge.  The Girls are working to make your life a little bit easier by asking Dr. Flynn how they can work to make their meal choices healthier, tastier, and more nutrient-dense without compromising taste or making Ella and Amelia run for the hills.  The Girls will put Dr. Flynn's ideas to the test by trying out the healthier version.  Sometimes getting the "kid's-approved" label is more difficult than the Julie-Certified, and our goal is to get both! 

You are sure to enjoy The Girls, and Adam, as they welcome you in to their home, share their recipes, and spread health and wellness through delicious, nutrient-dense, kid-approved recipes!

Posted on 2/2/2012 12:00 AM

Categories: Videos

Tags: recipe blog
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Oh my word...where to start? Lets begin with the Mountain Dew, because that was the first thing that caught my eye, and not in a pleasant! I am not certain who is drinking this, but it is definitely not Julie-Certified!  If you must have soda while eating pizza there are other options that are void of high fructose corn syrup, or aspartame if it is diet, and chemicals. Blue Sky makes an organic soda, and it just has organic cane sugar, natural flavoring, carbonated water, and citric acid ("a weak organic acid found in citrus fruits. It is a natural preservative and is also used to add an acidic (sour) taste to foods and soft drinks." from You are still gulping down flavored sugar water with bubbles, but it beats the Diet Mountain Dew ingredients, which are as follows: Carbonated water, concentrated orange juice, citric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), citrus pectin, potassium citrate, caffeine, gum arabic, natural flavors, brominated vegetable oil, yellow 5 and erythorbic acid (preserves freshness). Brominated vegetable oil (BOV), heh? That is gross and dangerous. An article on along with others have this to say about BOV, "Patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant, and banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, BVO has been added to sodas for decades in North America. Now some scientists have a renewed interest in this little-known ingredient, found in 10 percent of sodas in the United States." Now that is interesting, don't you think? Not to mention, a really great reason not to drink diet Mountain Dew; I would not even let it touch my skin! 
Honestly, I will never Julie-Certify flavored sugar water with bubbles, but if you must, stick with brands like Blue Sky, Main Root Hand Crafted beverages, or Whole Foods brand Italian Sodas. If you do not have access to these, they are available online. However, I recommend water, and if you want to dazzle it up, try sparkling water with your choice of freshly-squeezed lemon and/or lime, and touch of stevia.  I think I could Julie-Certify that ;)
Pizza can be a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables, and there are endless choices for toppings, cheeses, and crusts.  To make it simple, I would use a whole wheat crust, either pre-made (Rustic Crust Organic has one, and you can order it online if you cannot find it in the store) or you can make your own or purchase a mix.  Try making your own using wheat flour; that would be fun!  Oh, and for all of those parents out there who have children that cannot have gluten, or perhaps you cannot have it yourself, Namaste and Bob's Red Mill have easy gluten-free pizza crust mixes, and you do not have to be eating gluten-free to enjoy them!
Wheat crust vs White Crust: They both start from the same little wheat kernel; simply put, wheat flour uses the whole kernel, white flour is stripped down to the endoderm and then more often than not it is then bleached in order to have that fluffy white appearance.  When you use the whole kernel, as with wheat flour, all the lovely and nutritious natural vitamins and minerals are preserved.  White flour; however, is enriched with synthetic vitamins and minerals in order to add back in some of the nutrients that are lost through the stripping process.  There is definitely a different taste and consistency between the two, when made into a dough, since wheat flour is heavier due to the higher nutrients and protein levels.  However, pizza is a great way to use nutritious whole wheat flour as a substitute to white because you top it with so many other yummy items it becomes more of a vehicle to get in the sauce, cheese, and veggie and meat combos! So if you are going to eat wheat, opt for the whole wheat, and when you do just think of all the B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, iron, and calcium you are feeding your body!
So, now that the crust is a bit healthier, lets move on to the sauce. Sauce is fun because you can change it up.  I recommend purchasing organic marinara sauce that is free of added sugar.  Also, if you are feeling adventurous, try a pesto base instead of tomato.  Pesto is divine! Once you try it you will be hooked! Not to mention the beautiful green color it adds to your pizza, along with more nutrients.  Pesto is made from basil, olive oil, pine nuts, miso, and garlic. For those who cannot have nuts just leave them out, I always do and the pesto always tastes great.  There are many different ways to make it, some people use cheese in the recipe others leave out the miso, so you will have to experiment.  Another nice thing is that basil is super inexpensive to purchase and grow in your garden! You will have so much, you will be like, "Holy Basil!" Basil offers vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and iron! In addition, if you get tired of tomato sauce and pesto, opt for a BBQ chicken pizza!
Toppings: load up on your favorite veggies and more!  Try green peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, olives, pineapple, garlic, avocado, whatever sounds tasty!  The more veggies you add the more healthy nutrients you are feeding your and your family!
Cheese: What would pizza be without cheese? That ooey, gooey, stringy, beautiful white mozzarella that melts to bring together the whole pie! Yummy! Just keep in mind, I am not an advocate for cow's milk products; however, if you must have mozzarella, make certain it is ORGANIC and grass-fed.  Cows that are fed grains, as so many are, actually experience a change in the pH within the body.  In addition, in order to make cows grow faster and produce more milk they are given hormones.  Such things lead to antibiotic use; therefore, you are getting cheese from cows that have been wrongfully fed and given hormones and antibiotics, which do not go well on a tasty pizza pie!  In addition, grain-fed cows have a higher omega-6 ratio to omega-3 than grass-fed cows, which produce products higher in omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are needed much more as we tend to get more than enough omega-6s in our diet.  Keep in mind, omega-3 fatty acids are much more anti-inflammatory. Thus, by choosing organic, grass-fed cheese, you are simply choosing a much healthier option for you and your family, as well as supporting better and healthier cow-raising practices!  Happy cows, healthy kids :)
Goat cheese is a great idea!  It does not have the same fat molecule structure that cow's milk has (the fat molecules are shorter), thus it tends to be easier for people to digest. So, some people who have trouble with cow's milk are able to do goat's milk. A happy plus, it has less calories, sodium, and lower in cholesterol than cow's cheese, and it is still high in protein and calcium, as well as lots of great vitamins and minerals.  It has a fantastic flavor and makes a great addition to any pizza!
For the vegan crowd, try Daiya cheese! It is awesome!  It melts beautifully and tastes great. You can find it at Whole foods, Sprouts, and some Krogers'. Even out in Columbus, OH, Z Pizza has it! Always fun to change it up, so even if you are not a vegan, it is a fun and yummy way to change it up!
Add a beautiful spring mix salad for more vitamins and minerals, and do not forget a great glass of red wine (for the adults, of course, unless you are French, then maybe you will let the little ones have a taste ;) ).  I recommend Benziger, Cabernet Sauvignon. Benzinger is a family winery in California that is certified biodynamic and organic, and uses sustainable farming methods.
So make some of these changes, and have your pizza, and enjoy every nutrient-dense bite :)
Posted on 1/24/2012 12:00 AM

Categories: Videos

Tags: recipe blog
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Wow, Gretchen, you did a great job taking the healthy ideas for the beef tacos and making them work for your family. Perhaps you did not mean to puree the green peppers and onions, but it probably worked out better since the girls could not see them.  I am glad you enjoyed the salsa, and way to go with the organic spinach!!! Your healthier version of beef tacos is now Julie-Certified! Just one question, what did the family think?
Posted on 1/23/2012 12:00 AM

Categories: Videos

Currently rated 5 by 1
Question: How can we make these beef tacos healthier?
What a great way to support your local community!  Purchasing fresh, local beef is the way to go.  Just be certain the cows are raised organically and are grass-fed (grass-finished is best).
Here are some ideas to make the tacos healthier:
1. Make a salsa out of tomatoes, onions, mango, and cilantro.  This will provide extra vitamins and minerals, as well as flavor.  Tomatoes provide Vitamins A, C, and folate, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.  Onions have anti-inflammatory properties, provide some vitamin A, C, and folate, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.  Mangos provide much of the same vitamins and minerals as tomatoes and onions, as well as vitamins K and E, and choline, and selenium.  And Cilantro provides vitamins A,C, K, and folate, and calcium and potassium.
Not too shabby for a simple salsa.  For an extra kick, try adding in a jalapeno pepper.  Another added benefit of the salsa is that if someone in the family does not like it they can skip it while others enjoy it.  You can also tweak it by adding in garlic or pineapple or taking out the cilantro. You get the idea. Change it up as you wish while adding great vitamins and minerals to a yummy taco dish.
2. I don't see any green on your plate!  Try adding shredded raw spinach, preferably organic, on top of the taco or as salad on the side. You could even use the salsa as a dressing for the salad.  Spinach (or any spring mix, just avoid the iceberg lettuce, as it is weak in nutrients compared to spinach) provides vitamins A, C, K, folate, and calcium, magnesium, iron (remember Popeye), phosphorous, and potassium.  WOW, spinach is awesome!  You can use it raw or throw it in with the meat.  What and easy and inexpensive way to get in some extra vitamins and minerals.
3.  Another way to get veggies in is to add them to the meat.  Dice up some green, red, yellow, and/or orange peppers and cook them with onions or with the meat, just do not cook out all the good stuff.  You could also add them to the salsa or just put it in the shell.  There are many options.  Peppers are full of vitamins A, K, C, and folate, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.  You can also find them already cut up in the frozen section at your nearest grocery store.  This would make it easy and convenient to throw them in with the meat, and make the tacos healthier!
4. Holy Guacamole! Avocados are so good, and they provide healthy fat, vitamins A, C, E,K, and folate, as well as potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium,iron, zinc, choline, and betaine.  You can simply mash them up and add some salt, pepper, and lime juice, and voila, a delicious and healthy addition to your tacos! 
What do you think? Are those some great ways to make your beef tacos healthier, or what?!  Let me know how it goes.  And if you have any questions let me know!
Woohoo, go beef tacos!
Here's to healthy and happy eating,
Recipe for the Beef Tacos; compliments of In the Kitchen with The Girls:

Beef Tacos

-1/2 lb. ground beef
-1 can corn (15 oz)
-1 can chili beans (15 oz)
-12 hard taco shells
-1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
-1/2 cup salsa
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. On Medium heat in a medium saucepan, brown ground beef, after beef is cooked drain off all liquid.
3.  Drain corn and chili bean and add them to the beef.
4. Add taco seasoning and salsa and heat until warmed.
5. Once warm distribute evenly between all 12 taco shells and place in a 13 X 9 cake pan.
6. Bake for 5-7 minutes until shells are crisp.
Posted on 11/29/2011 12:00 AM

Categories: Videos

Tags: ask the doc
Currently rated 5 by 1
Naturopathic medicine weaves together the arts of science, philosophy, history, prevention, diagnosis, and customized treatment plans in order to combat illness, obtain balance, maintain health, and prevent disease...More Info
Anything deemed Julie-certified has been researched, investigated, and used by Dr. Julie Flynn herself. The Julie-Certified seal of approval is not given out lightly. The products have to meet certain standards set by Dr. Flynn....More Info
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