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Internal Friction……The First Step in Healing

Part 5 of 5

cellular healing

The condition of the body, or the health of the cells, balance of the hormones, and quality of the brain chemistry is what will determine our tipping point and where our water level of our glass is, while it is the mental beliefs we have when we are confronted by any given life stress that drive our emotions and determine the result of our spillage. This is how our body physiology can set the stage for our mental reactions and outcomes to the life stress events we encounter.

It is through addressing all 4 components of this equation, at the cellular level, hormonal level, brain chemistry level, and by re-framing our expectations at the mental level that we build real-life, tangible, qualitative, resilience to stress.

The way we do this is though learning. Awareness is the first step, then we have to learn all we can so we can look at this whole thing differently and approach it from an angle that makes the most sense for each of us, according to our own values, beliefs and goals. A sick body can have sick thoughts and as we do the things day in and day out that change our habits and physiology for the better the body will heal and get healthy and strong and we then express healthier and happier thoughts. As you go through what you need to, in time you will bring back your own thinking, return to your happy, optimistic self, and when things get hard, and let’s face it, life tends to do that, then you will be in physical “shape” and have the mental strength and appropriate expectations to handle what comes your way and effectively change the physiology of stress into the biology of courage.

Imagine that you commit to this work and you apply yourself to it daily. In time as you follow your plan and keep at your goal you may even come to welcome stress and seek it out once you have seen how you can grow from it in ways that very few people can even comprehend. That my friends, is freedom. That my friends, is how I want to live. That my friends, is the legacy I want to leave for my kids and grandkids. That my friends, is what I want to offer you.

Thank you for being a part of this journey and for contributing to my evolution and growth. I appreciate you and the opportunity to share with you along the way.

We can do better! Here is to being better! Here’s to a friction-less life for us all!

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Dr. Don

Internal Friction…….Hijacked Hormones and Brain Chemistry

Part 4 of 5

hormone treatment

As our hormones shift and start to take short cuts and get all thrown off we start to see changes begin to happen in our brain and nervous system. Our brain and nervous system’s cells do not reproduce like most other cells so we have to take excellent care of them. These nervous system cells do make new connections and re-connect constantly to give us countless new options in our health, healing and function and this process can be displaced and interfered with when the inner friction builds to this point. Our brain cells are very high powered little machines and they need a lot of energy and nutrients to keep them happy and firing in a healthful way. When our hormones are causing friction for our brain chemistry and we add life stress into the equation we see a compounding negative effect. The process of running our brain cells is very expensive so to speak using a lot of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep that high quality, high performing brain running. When these sources of nutrients from our food start to run low the brain has to start to budget and starts cutting corners.

As the brain budgets, just like we do, it has to start to picking and choosing which processes and mechanisms it is going to “fund” and with what. One of the first things that we see is that it starts to try and stretch its energy use and downgrades the fuel it uses and how it uses it. It is like going from super octane fuel to a plus grade, then to a standard grade, and to eventually a low grade and at times a very substandard fuel. With each downgrade of the fuel that the brain uses it burns more and more dirty, as in producing more and more residues, just like in the engine of your car. As these residues build up they clog up a whole lot of the machinery in the brain. Soon, due to this lack of nutrient resources forcing the down regulating of how the brain uses fuel it causes oxidation which is like rust in the brain and that causes inflammation. Oxidation and inflammation in the brain is the friction that takes our health issues to a whole new level.

At this level of friction from the oxidation and inflammation we start seeing changing in the normal balance, function, utilization and production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. When these chemicals, or neurotransmitters, start developing issues in this process it changes how we feel, our mood, our energy levels, ability to concentration, our memory, and can produce potentially addictive behavior like urges, impulsivity, and can hi-jack other parts of our brain that run our logic centers, rational thought, morals, decision making, and cost benefit balance type of thinking. Oh, did I mention it can change our mood? Big time, and it can change our demeanor, our motivation, adherence to our values, it can blur our goals, and can literally alter what and how we think.

Once this brain chemistry friction wheel starts turning it is real hard to stop it, never mind turn it around. It is a slippery slope that once we start down it we slide right down the mountain into nothing but trouble and despair. This is exactly what happens in this poor mental economy when the friction tips our cup and we spill over with negative thoughts that come fast and furious, one after another, quickly escalating the perceived negative thoughts and pulls us into a hole of anxiety, depression, and altered thinking. We start thinking in ways that are not us. Just like we are thinking someone else’s thoughts and it doesn’t take long to start to feel we are really far off our mental mark and in a word, crazy. In reality it is the mental friction and the breach of our tipping point that is changing our biochemistry and physiology and driving our thoughts to a place we would never go otherwise.

So far I have outlined how we accumulate the different friction byproducts and fill our glass to the very rim leaving us vulnerable to a tipping incident at any point of the day. Some days it seems all we do is mop up the spillage from the constant, repetitive, tipping that can happen multiple times a day. Three fourths of the friction equation is body centric, building from the cells, then flowing to the hormones, and then reaching the brain chemistry, with the remaining one fourth of the equation being mental, or more specifically, what we believe.

Yes, you read that right, I said what we believe. A very oversimplified way to think of it is that our experiences throughout our life forms our memories and based on these memories and experience concept we choose our beliefs. Now, we can’t change our past or the experiences we have been through, but we can change how we interpret what those experiences mean to us and how we approach similar experiences in the future. What we believe about any given experience will determine how any future experience impacts us mentally and physically. I know it sounds out there, but it is true and this concept has been shown sound in multiple studies with thousands of people in multiple countries spanning many years. What these research studies found was that it was not the level or type of stress that determined how stress effected their health and happiness.

Yes, some people did have very negative health outcomes from their stress, and others had very significant stress events with little to no negative health effects. What made the difference? Remember this concept from the beginning of the article here? What determines which side of the stress line these stress events in life fall? What determines whether my stress hurts me or heals me? As it turns out, it is whether you believe stress is bad or not. People who believed that stress was part of life, that is was not necessarily bad or thought stress could even be good for you are the ones that were not negatively effected health and happiness wise from their stress, even at very high and prolonged levels of stress. People who believed that stress kills people and will ruin their health saw major negative health effects from their stress, and not just at high levels but even at relatively low levels of stress. In fact, the low stress level people who believed that stress was bad had more negative health effects than people who saw stress as part of life but had very high stress levels! The only discernable difference the researchers could find in these groups was how they believed stress would effect them.

Those are some amazing facts are they not? I find this stuff fascinating.

To be continued……

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Internal Friction…..The Tipping Point

Part 3 of 5

stress tipping point

I believe there is the tipping point. Our internal frictions, both mental and physical are what fills our glass as they swell and grind in our life, minds and bodies. Many people focus on and put a lot of time and effort into emptying their glass to try and keep that tipping point low. This is called traditional stress management. Many people look to stay clear of life’s conflicts where ever they can and consequently put a lot of energy into doing so. This is called stress avoidance.

What I really want to do, and where I spend a lot of time and energy is working to build a bigger cup. That is called resilience. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times and places for stress management and avoidance for sure. In today’s condensed, hectic, demanding world I will take all the advantages I can get, but it is in building our capacity to convert stress from a potentially negative impact on our lives into a potentially positive one that makes us truly resilient to stress.

As far as I can see we have four main areas that these internal frictions produce the majority of their damage:

1. Expectations

2. Brain Chemistry

3. Hormonal Chemistry

4. Cellular Oxidative Health

These four areas of our health, body, and life all start to collect the ill effects of the internal friction of our lives independently or collectively and dump them into our glasses. Let’s go through them each in reverse order.

Cellular Oxidative Health. What am I talking about here? Our body is made up of lots and lots of cells that all function in a very similar fashion as our body does as a whole, just on a very small scale. Each cell eats, eliminates, breathes, grows, reproduces, moves, and lives its little cell life. Healthy happy cells make up healthy happy tissues that make up healthy happy organs that work in healthy happy systems that make up a healthy happy body that has a healthy happy mind and enjoys a healthy happy life.

Health starts within the cell itself and anything that we do to irritate, interfere, damage, or negatively stress our cells will change how they work and ultimately how they express themselves and reproduce. In order to have any disease in our body we have to have had some significant damage occur within the cells of the body and that damage had to happen to A LOT of cells to the point that when they reproduced they produced new, yet damaged, or improperly functioning cells for many generations.

Cellular level toxicity, trauma, oxidation and maladapted behavior from our life and lifestyle are the most basic fundamental frictions that occur in our body and start our glass filling up. Many of these changes and actions that occur and produce this cellular level internal friction are not even something people can feel or see very easily, but they start the ill health and negative mental well-being ball rolling.

That leads us to our Hormonal Chemistry. When enough of the cellular level friction occurs it sets off our hormonal chemistry. Hormones are how the cells of the body all talk to each other and communicate what they need and how they feel so to speak. The cells use hormones and hormone receptors to tell their story to the rest of the body and the body in turn reports to the cells what is going on in the world through hormones so the cells can make changes accordingly. When this process is off, either from the cell to the body or the body back to the cell we see changes in our hormonal chemistry start to occur. This hormonal shift creates the next level of friction that we can now see and feel in our body. Hormones are very powerful little chemicals and they direct a whole lot of larger level action in our body like how we feel, how we look, they control how much fat we store or burn, how much muscle we build or lose, they make our skin look young, attract us to other people, help us sleep, control our energy levels, make us hungry or feel full and they can also make us impulsive, irritable, reactionary, angry, jealous, resentful and a whole lot more.

Generally speaking, we want to be as hormonally sensitive as we possibly can. That does not mean that we are just “hormonal,” as they say and being “sensitive,” to everything around us. It means that our cells, the hormones they use, the glands that make hormones and the rest of the body are all living in harmony and communicating well with ease and without any friction. We want our body to be sensitive to hormones meaning that a very little hormonal message goes a long way and does what we need it to. A hormonally sensitive body is a healthy, happy, good feeling body.

When the cells friction is building and health is being challenged we start to see signs of becoming hormonally resistant. The first place that this can be seen is with insulin, a very powerful hormone that does not play well with others and can throw our whole system out of whack when it shows up on the scene. Insulin makes our stress hormone effects worse, throws off our sex hormones and hi-jacks our metabolism. Early signs of insulin resistance are stubborn weight that won’t come off when you do the things that have worked for you in the past to lose weight, high fasting blood glucose as in over 83 for what I call the pre-pre diabetic state, 100-125 for medical pre-diabetes, and over 125 being type two diabetic. High triglycerides, high fasting blood insulin (over 5), elevated liver enzymes, fatty liver, and carb/sugar addiction symptoms are all just a few of the potential signs of insulin resistance.

To be continued…….

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Internal Friction…..WHY?

Part 2 of 5

handling internal stress

Why is it that one stress can roll right off your back while that same stress can bring me to my knees? Why can I deal with this particular stress so well today only to be leveled by it next week? Why can I handle the huge stress at times and be tortured by the small, less significant stress other times? Why can other people get through this, why can they do this, why can they handle this, and why can they succeed at this and I stand here so challenged?

I think something sets us up. I call it our tipping point. I see this equation as a giant water glass. I see our body as a vessel, as a glass of sorts that stress and life events can be poured right into. The level of water in this glass can go up and it can go down for different reasons as we contribute to the filling or emptying process. Occasionally that glass can fill to the rim and spill over. As the water level rises and nears the top we approach the tipping point. The tipping point is different for every individual and is more easily breached as the water level rises and we don’t bring it down, and at this delicate moment when we tip, we better watch out because the fire hose is open full blast.

Have you ever been to a coffee shop and seen a customer completely lose it on the barista because they got the wrong kind of milk, or shot, or flavor in their coffee? I make my own coffee most days and I can barely get it right for myself consistently, so this was not the baristas fault or doing. This client walked into that shop with a loaded gun, they walked into the shop at the brink of a spill, they walked in there right at the crest of their tipping point. At that point all it took was a nudge, a mere suggestion, and the emotional signal was fired off and the spiraling cascade of ill behavior that followed was unleashed.

That is a safe and neatly packaged example that most people can understand and get. Now let’s make it a bit more personal. Think of the parent, a dad in this case, that is at a park with his kid watching them play. The dad starts talking to the other parents doing the same and his child comes over excitedly to share something that just happened. Up to his dad he goes and starts tugging on his sleeve saying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” His dad a little irritated shrugs him off only to have the child do it again, and again, and again until the dad turns and barks at his kid that he hates when he does that, and lays into the poor kid. I have been there as the kid and as the dad and I think we can all relate to this incident. Is the dad a bad dad? Does he hate his kid? No. Of course not, just the opposite. So, did the kid do anything wrong, is he a bad kid? No, he’s not.

So what happened? The dad was at his tipping point. The dad was so ripe to tip that the loving, innocent, excited gesture of his own child that he loves dearly set him off and unfortunately both the parent and the child are going to be affected by it and pay a price.

Now if you were to freeze frame that scenario right there and then and calmly ask the dad if he truly feels that his conversation with the other parents at that moment was more important than his child’s desire to share something with him and he would say emphatically, “of course not.” If you were to ask that dad if barking and scolding his kid was an appropriate response in that situation, he would again say “no.” And if you asked him why he did that at that point, he most likely would say, “I don’t know,” and shake his head and look away in disbelief. It is almost like they were not his actions, it was like his thoughts in that moment were not his thoughts. When calmly looking at the event we think, that is just not like me. That is not what I want to be for myself or my child or anyone else. And we mean it.

So then why did he do it? Why do I do it? Why do you? Why does this happen when it is clearly not how we want to behave, it is clearly not how we usually do behave, and there is no reasonable excuse we can think of to justify the behavior? So why? How can this happen? And why does it seem to happen to so many people in so many parts of their lives and relationships?

There is a reason. There are probably many. But we can improve and even potentially eliminate this from happening.

To be continued……

Read Part 1​

Internal friction

internal friction

Part 1 of 5

I am currently pursing my PhD in Health Psychology focusing on this process specifically, but I am not a psychologist. I am just your friendly neighborhood chiropractor and a mild mannered nutritionist who has spent the last 17 years working with people one on one, and now in large groups and programs, in three out of four of these categories I am going to go into with great success. I leave the psychology to the experts who deal with this type of issues every day, but I know that if you improve the body by working on these three categories, detoxifying and healing the cells, reducing hormonal resistance, and improving the mental economy the physiology will improve and much of the mental stress, strain, and mood issues that come along with this friction improves greatly. Again, I am all for stress management and avoiding stress when appropriate, but my ultimate goal, one that I research daily and am personally committed to, one that I live by and teach my children, is how to be healthy, heal when needed, and build rock solid resilience to stress.

Internal friction. That is the best way I can sum up how I see our body and system working as it slowly builds up tension or a physical dissonance to our physical and mental tipping point that eventually spills with ill health.

Mentally when we feel anxiety, or we find ourselves drawn to negative thoughts, self doubt and we start to get irritable, critical, and start feeling like someone else is running this show, like the thoughts and emotions we feel building are someone else's completely. I can only describe how it feels to me and attempt to translate how it has been described by patients and clients over the years in practice as a literal internal FRICTION that swells, grinds, confuses, tempts, distracts and can consumes us.

It is this mental friction that makes the insanity of addictive behavior seem logical or acceptable right before we do what ever it is we do, again, and again, and again. Whether it is eating sugar and processed carbs again, or taking that drink or that hit again, turning to abusive behavior or language and saying nasty things again, or suppressing our own thoughts and feelings to "feel" loved again, all the while knowing this is in no way good for us, clearly knowing that this is doing harm, and perfectly cognizant that we are literally and figuratively feeding this problem......again.

We can feel that friction when it begins. It can start slow and mild, almost unnoticeable, and slowly builds and as it gains our attention and we hope it will pass or we try and do something, hopefully something positive, that might calm that feeling and ease that friction. It can build or just crash your good day and squeeze your life joy by coming on so strong that the next thing you know you are in a mini internal panic trying to escape and avoiding it at any cost.

Sometimes this friction can change our personality right before our eyes, or slowly push as it alters who we are to the point that when we do finally see the issue, or when it is pointed out to us, we are blind to even the thought that this could be true, that this could be us. Sometimes we are reacting through this friction before we even know it is upon us, almost like a black-out drunk, it happens and all bets are off to what we do or what comes out of our mouth. Suddenly there are tears or harsh words, sometimes there is pain, other times you just find yourself off point, eating junk foods or finishing that whole pizza and skipping that workout or pushing that work off, ignoring your kids and wasting your day. Then we are left to make excuses and feel even worse than before as we reinforce that internal friction with more power to come back and terrorize us again.

This often seems like a completely mental process making us feel crazy, defective, and alone. Because in those moments we see the lunacy of our actions and feel that no one else can relate, that no one else really thinks these things or does this and definitely not over and over like I do. But they do. We all do at some point and to some degree, whether in thought, feeling or action, in some way that is unique to us we feel that friction.

As mental as it seems I think something physical sets this up and then sets us off. I know that thoughts can drive actions and physiology but I also believe that our physiology can drive our thoughts and emotions as well.

To be continued……

Fiber Damage

Yes, fiber can cause damage in your body. I am not a fan of fiber, that is no secret here, but I don't want to get into it in this post.

People are making their new year's resolutions and asking about becoming fat burners, or going ketogenic or paleo and want some tips.

When you go to a higher fat, lower carb diet and you have been eating a "regular" diet or one with a good amount of fiber and you switch over your gut will have to heal from the fiber damage and in so doing if you get sluggish bowels, or some irregularity for a bit, that is NORMAL and part of healing. Don't give up because things change up a bit, they will normalize.

Oh, and if you are starting the new year fasting, like I am, or going low cal while on a keto diet.....I do NOT suggest taking any fiber to make up for any "perceived" lack or "help." Trust me, it will NOT go well.....been there.

I do not suggest ANY form of fiber supplements, but especially during a diet shift like this.

Hope it helps people, keep the questions coming and I will do my best.

Dr. Don

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Eating More is Not the Problem

We are eating more, but that is not the real problem.

184 lbs.

This is 11 lbs less weight than the average man and 17 lbs more than the average woman's weight.

184 lbs is how much more net food Americans ate in 2000 compared to the 50's.

And if we assume the increase continues at the same rate to today from 2000 then we are looking at 242 more lbs of food consumed in 2016 than the 1950’s.

Where did that 184 lbs come from?

57 lbs came from meat, the majority increase was in chicken

120 lbs in fruits and veggies (we do 120 lbs in juice alone which should be in the sugar category, but is not, remember that)

30 lbs in fat (25 of it in vegetable oil and 12 lbs trans fats with a drop in butter and beef fat)

87.5 lbs in grains and sugar (44.5 grains/43 sugar)

The only things we ate less of were:

110 lbs less of dairy but 26 lbs MORE in low fat dairy

33% less eggs

184 lbs is half a pound of food more per day.

Is the problem that we are eating more? Many people will look at this and say "YES, obviously!" More food, more fat people, more problems. It is solved.

NO, it is not.

The weight and obesity epidemic we face now is not due to eating more. It is due to what we are eating, how and when.....not how much.

What we see here is a dramatic rise in the consumption of sugar and grains causing a surge in insulin.

We see a increase in meat with a SHIFT to leaner meats and less animal fat that leads to higher insulin secretion.

We see an increase in veggies, mostly in potatoes and juice, both crank insulin levels.

We see an increase in vegetable oil (omega 6) which when combined with high insulin sky rockets systemic inflammation and promotes insulin resistance.

We see the intake of trans fats for up by 12 lbs!!!! And this is a fat that has been regulated, and restricted by the government mandate. Trans fat promote inflammation and insulin resistance and general hormonal dysfunction.

We dropped dairy intake but in the process increased our low fat dairy consumption by 26 lbs which replaced fat with sugar which cranks insulin.

We eat 33% less eggs which were mostly a breakfast food that were replaced with cereal and milk, both major insulin and blood sugar abusers.

Americans eat 60% of their diet as processed foods and less than 1% is from vegetables.

If you take these same numbers and make them come from 70% natural whole foods and then rearrange them with the dietary breakdown of high fat, moderate protein, unlimited non-starchy vegetables and limited to no grains, sugar and starches we would se a reversal of the weight and chronic disease state we have now.....and that is without changing the amount of food.

Add into this spaces between meals starting with eating just 3 meals a day and cut the snacking and working into skipping breakfast every other day and you will see this reversal process and health promotion magnify even more.

We have a lot to lose. We need to lose weight, illness, inflammation, toxicity, and convenience eating. We need to lose the legacy of shortened lifespans filled with chronic disease and suffering that we have build for our kids. We have to lose old beliefs and deadly health and nutritional dogma.

If we can do this we also have a lot to gain, or at least restore.

The choice is literally yours each and every day, meal, and movement.

Choose wisely my friends!

Dr. Don

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Pesto Cauliflower Salad

Pesto Cauliflower Salad over Baby Arugula

Here’s and oldie but a goodie! Originally posted on our Abundant Health blog – this one is a true family favorite – even skeptics who don’t like cauliflower loved it!!!

I know I have touted the health benefits cauliflower before, but it still bears mentioning that – even though it is not green – it is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables out there. You can read more about the specific benefits of cauliflower in my Mashed Potato Surprise post here.

OK – Recipe time…


  • One large head of cauliflower
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 bell peppers chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes – cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Pesto
  • 4-6 handfuls of baby arugula

Break the cauliflower up into small, bite sized florets and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to marinate (you can leave it overnight too if you have the time.)

Toss the marinated cauliflower with the peppers, tomatoes and pesto. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over 4-6 handfuls of the baby arugula. YUM YUM!!!

*** if you have any left over salad, its really yummy the next day if you warm it up a little with some white beans and maybe a touch more pesto sauce????


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Coconut Macaroons

Skylar’s Coconut Macaroon Trees

I love it that my Daughter loves to help in the kitchen! This is one of her favorite cookie recipes – we don’t eat sweets and we are essentially a grain free house, so this is one of our healthy treats. My daughter modified this recipe based on a recipe she found from Martha Stewart. This version is very low in sugar, but you can easily use pure stevia extract to lower the sugar content even more.


  • 2 ½ Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ⅛ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Stevia (this is a stevia sugar blend available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.)
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 5 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine coconut, sugar, baking stevia, egg whites, vanilla extract, and salt and mix well.

Shape into tree shapes and place on a cookie sheet* about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the tops and undersides are golden and toasty.

Let cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled completely, right before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

*We love to use our Pampered Chef Stoneware for these cookies.


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Coconut Oil Chocolate Recipe

Coconut Chocolate

From the Kitchen of Dr. Dana

  • 1 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • Stevia – to taste
  • Real Maple Syrup – to taste (grade B is the best option)

Combine 1 cup coconut oil* and 1 cup cocoa powder and whisk together until nice and smooth.

Stir in1/4 – 1/2 tsp powdered Stevia extract (you could also use liquid Stevia) and 2 -4 tbsp maple syrup and whisk well. * what you’re going for here is to sweeten the mixture with stevia until its ALMOST sweet enough for you – and then add just enough maple syrup to cut the bitterness of the stevia.

Pour into clean ice cube trays or your favorite Chocolate Molds and place in the freezer to harden.

Once hardened, remove from molds and store in a container in the freezer (or fridge) so they don’t melt!

Coconut oil is liquid above 75 degrees F. (25 C.), and below that it will be a solid fat. It can be stored in either form, and it can be liquefied easily by applying low-level heat.

*In cooler months you may need to do this on the stove. Melt the coconut oil In a small pot over low heat to bring the coconut oil to liquid state, then remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

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