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Helpful Tips to Help Kids Eat Natural Foods and Stay Active

DSC 9833

DSC 9833We all worry about the health of our kids. Just walking down the grocery store isles filled with processed foods in colorful packages, the newest gummies, roll ups, cereals, sodas, cookies, muffins, chips.. you know the drill, we have all been there and it is almost impossible to not break down and give in to some of their pleas.  I find it helpful to simply stay out of those isles!!  Try going to the produce section first and filling up with their favorite fruits, nuts and veggies.   Anyway, here are some helpful tips from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine to encourage better food choices along with ideas to stay more active. 

Remember Flavor and Eye Appeal are the Foundation for Success.

  •      vary the shapes of veggies, cut-out shapes, curls and circles rather than sticks
  •      make wraps rather than sandwiches
  •      provide healthful “dips” like hummus or lowfat ranch for veggies, nut butters
  •      serve meals in eye catching dishware or lunch boxes  

Involve Kids in Food Selection and Preperation.

  •      kids and teens are more likely to eat foods they help select and prepare
  •      Use shopping trips as a time to talk about new and nutritious foods
  •      allow kids to experiment and create novel ways to prepare foods

Eat Breakfast Every Day.

  •      Little time for breakfast?  Put together the night before
  •      have kids help set out plates, wash and cut fruit and veggies
  •      keep breakfast simple, or prepare home-packed breakfast to go

Make the Most of School Lunches.

  •      explore opportunities for tasty, good nutrition
  •      look at and compare nutritional choices in regular and a la carte foods 
  •      talk about sensible choices

Pack a Lunch from Home.  This is usually the answer to inadequate school menus and meals.

  •      include a lean protein, veggies, fruit and healthy fat
  •      keep nutritious lunch “makings” on hand
  •      encourage kids to pack their own lunches, selecting a variety of foods

Prepare Snacks Ahead of Time and Keep them Handy.

  •      prepare and bag single servings of healthful snacks  on the weekend to make good choices easy during the week.  Have children help
  •      keep nuts, fresh and dried fruit, veggies with dip
  •      pumpkin and sunflower seeds, low-fat cheese, yogurt, nut butters

Offer New Foods Multiple Times:  Kids Often Have to Try New Foods Several Times Before Deciding if they Like Them.

  •      vary preperation
  •      try only small servings at first
  •      include the new food with their favorite recipe
  •      have kids pick and choose which new food to try

Move It Everyday:  Help Children Get 60 Minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Exercise Daily.

  •      create a routine, hike, walk together daily, or play outdoors.  
  •      be a role model
  •      participate in community and school physcial activities and sports
  •      involve kids in active household chores




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Green Egg Scramble

Green Egg Scramble

Green Egg Scramble

Wow, this recipe was surprisingly so delicious and has become a favorite!!! I left out the spinach because I was out, and included some yolks.  It was easy and quick, I cut down on some time by using frozen organic broccoli cooked for about 2 minutes in the microwave, and I already had minced onion in the fridge. Didn’t need any salt either.  Paired it with a bowl of fruit cereal: sliced strawberries, bananas, blueberries and chopped almonds. Passed the teenager test!


  • 9 broccoli florets, steamed and sliced
  • ½ cup of spinach (optional)
  • 2 green onions, minced or ½ sweet red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Preheat sauté pan with butter, coconut or olive oil on medium low heat. Saute onion and garlic. Add Mushrooms and cook until soft. Add broccoli and spinach and cook just until tender. Add beaten eggs and cook until just done, do not overcook.
Transfer to a dish and top with sliced avocado.

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Apple Crumble Cereal

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Tried this recipe this morning, it was amazing! Really loved it. A great alternative to sugar cereals in the morning before school. It took about 10 minutes to prepare, but 30 minutes in the oven. So, I think for school mornings, I will have the bowls filled at night and then just pop them in the oven when I wake up. Hope you like it, we paired it with an egg white, cheese and salsa scramble, which was a little weird.  I think next time, turkey bacon. The cereal is almost dessert like :0) Yummy!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cereal Ingredients

  • 4 apples, cored and quartered (any sweet table variety)
  • 1 date, seeds removed and 1/2 C of unsweetened shredded coconut

Crumble Ingredients

  • 1 heaped cup of walnuts
  • 4 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pulse the crumble ingredients in your blender or food processor until you have a nice crumbly mix for the topping. Be sure to leave some chunky bits for texture. Set aside.
Place the apples, dates and coconut in your food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
Divide the apple mixture between four or five oven proof bowls, top with the crumble mixture, bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until nicely golden.


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Mini Quiches

DSC 9748- Mini Quiches

DSC 9748- Mini Quiches

So I keep hearing that breakfast is the most challenging meal to keep “real”. It was for us too! Mornings are just so busy and grain-based foods are quick and have been the staple of the American breakfast–it was what I grew up on!

Hope you like this one, we like it for breakfast, sometimes dinner, or even for an after school snack. It makes for a quick and yummy meal for those busy mornings, when it seems like I’m lucky if they have 2 minutes to eat. It does take roughly 25 minutes to bake, so you could line the muffin tin with add-ons the night before to save time. I made them in 15 minutes and then baked for 22 min. I would check at 20 and then take them out when a knife inserted comes out clean.

Make it your own by choosing your own add-ons. Leftovers work like ham, broccoli etc. In this recipe, we used spinach, tomato, carrots and jalapeño jack cheese. You can make them dairy free, just add a little more coconut milk, and omit the cheese. Let me know what you think!

Yummy Mini Quiches

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin pan if you like or grease with butter or your favorite oil.


  • 11 eggs, only 5 yolks
  • salt, pepper, basil and cayenne pepper to taste (omit the salt if using shredded cheese)
  • 3/4 C spinach
  • 1/2 C shredded carrots
  • About 2 pieces of sliced jalapeño jack cheese or 1 C. of your favorite cheese grated
  • 1 tomato, sliced thinly (small tomatoes work best)
  • 1/3 C of coconut milk

In a large bowl, whisk together:
11 eggs, I removed all yolks except 5
salt, pepper and basil
1/3 C of coconut milk, or regular milk

Transfer to a large measuring cup, I used a 2 C in order to pour into muffin pan. Set aside till you line your cups with the add-ons.

Line muffin cups with add-ons: I used about 5 baby spinach leaves, a pinch of carrots and a 1/4 slice of cheese in each. Then, topped it with a tomato slice and a sprinkle of basil once they were filled with the egg mixture.

Fill with egg mixture to just below the rim, they do not rise very much. Bake for roughly 20 minutes, these were ready in 22, they are done when an inserted knife comes out clean.

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Fall For Apples


Long before our country was known for its “fields of gold,” or considered the “bread basket” of the world, apples fueled American lives. Historical reports say that just about every homesite in Massachusetts during the 1600’s had an apple orchard because the Reverend William Blackstone welcomed the Pilgrims by sharing the fruits of his orchard. Indeed, for some time apples remained an important food such that the legendary John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) sprouted the American frontier along the Ohio river valley by broadcasting his seeds. Because they have a long shelf-life and are generally harvested late in Fall, apples serve as a dependable winter fruit. Malus domestica (apple tree) may have been prone to historical significance because of its adaptability and hardiness, but I believe its most favorable quality is the nutrition it provides the consumer of its fruits. Hence, understanding the nutritional power of America’s original super-fruit can benefit our present day lives.

Metabolic Efficiency

The taste of an apple is due to its sugar content interacting with our taste buds, but its true sweetness transcends this simple quality, ultimately gratifying every cell in our body. Fructose is the major carbohydrate found in an apple, but as with most nutrients, it’s the manner in which this nutrient is presented to our cells that determines its effects on our health. Not all fructose molecules are created equal in that the molecules we ingest from natural sources (whole fruits) are far more beneficial than those consumed from unnatural sources (high-fructose corn syrup). For example, apples demonstrate an inherently low-glycemic index despite packing approximately 25 grams of carbohydrates per fruit because its sugar content is delivered to us as part of a phytonutrient complex housed in a pectin matrix (soluble fiber). Pectin attracts water and forms a gel which delays passage of nutrients through the stomach to the small bowel, thereby providing more satiety per calorie consumed. Delaying absorption of sugar means there is less of an insulin spike in the blood and improved metabolism. Therefore apple consumption can prevent obesity, but the health benefits don’t end there.


The two most lethal diseases in the United States, heart disease and cancer, result from the consumption of highly processed, manufactured foods which cause excessive inflammation. Fortunately, apple consumption reduces inflammation and improves our health by several independent mechanisms. The soluble plant fibers in an apple tend to pull LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides out of us by interfering with the absorption of dietary fat. Furthermore, the bulking of our stool tends to improve colonic health and reduces our risk of colon polyps, colon cancer and diverticulosis. In effect, eating apples cleanses both our arterial pipes (arteries) and our intestinal pipes (bowel) – we are therefore detoxified of industrial waste and by-products.

Diabetes Treatment

Perhaps more intriguing is that the newest chronic disease threat, type 2 diabetes, can also be prevented or ameliorated through consistent apple consumption. Phlorizin, a bioactive compound found abundantly in apples, competitively inhibits kidney glucose transporters and can lower blood sugar levels (if elevated). In fact, pharmaceutical companies are currently using analogs of the phlorizin molecule as the newest innovations to treat diabetic patients. But thinking more holistically about our health, the consumption of apples aligns us to nature, a resonance with great symbiotic potential.


Apples promote the growth of favorable bacteria in our gut and this improves our defenses. Curiously, our intestinal biome guides our immune system, therefore a more favorable microbial ecosystem within us creates a stronger immune system, one that is also more precisely directed so as not to attack our own tissues. Anti-oxidants are also key players in our defense and here we see that the positive effects of an apple begin in our mouth as tannins improve periodontal (gum) health. Diffusing further, vitamin C, polyphenols, flavinoids and quercetin molecules protect our body and brain from oxidative stress, the principle culprit in many diseases of the modern age. Incredibly, apples stabilize cellular metabolism to the extent that they have been shown to improve lung function by diminishing asthma attacks (hypersensitivity and inflammation in the lung).

On a personal note, apples have been the most important carbohydrate source through my health conscious conversion to a Naturvore, not only because they are so nutritious, but also because they are so portable and easy to eat. Fortunately, most grocery stores and farmer’s markets sell several different varieties of apples, each one with a distinctive skin, flavor and crunch, thereby making the consumption of two to five apples per day very palatable. Other fruit do not have such variability. In fact, my record number of apples consumed in a day occurred during an intense free-diving trip in the Florida keys when I ate nine before I could acquire other carbohydrate sources.

I attribute much of my health to whole, natural foods, and this review of one particular fruit explains why. I believe Americans can improve their health by consuming more apples, a powerful fruit with an important history. We should always wash apples before consumption, but they require little protection or care and yet will last for days at room temperature. So, grab a Jonagold, Cameo, Fuji, Pink Lady, Ambrosia, Jazz or Red Delicious and experience some fantastic metabolic moments, those which can be appreciated and remembered both mentally and physically. Fall is the best time to fall for apples.

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