/Diana Herrington

About Diana Herrington

I am the Founder and Author at Real Food For Life. Have been teaching cooking classes worldwide since 1982. Create original, healthy recipes and menus, which are gluten free and white sugar free. Also, the author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.

Fabulous Delicious Nutritious Figs

By |January 11th, 2017|

Fresh juicy exotic figs are delicious and are also powerfoods that have been around since 8,000 BC. Dried figs are tasty too and filled with even more nutrients than the fresh ones.

The Middle East has thrived on figs and has used them in their cooking and to help heal many health concerns.

“Eat it as it cures various diseases among which are Piles, Gout and Arthritis” ~ Abu Darda, companion of Rasulullah 

5 Health Benefits of Figs 

  1. Reliefs Sore Throats: The fig fruit and leaves have been to relieve sore throats. A Korean study found that fig leaves destroyed oral bacteria.
  2. Helps with Weight loss:  Being high in fiber figs will keep you regular and can help with weight management.
  3. Reduces Cancer:
  • The phytochemicals in figs were found in one study to suppress cancer cell production.
  • The white fig dottato was found in another study to have unique cancer-fighting activity on melanoma cells. The researchers found this to give a new perspective in the development fig formulations being helpful in treating non-melanoma skin cancers.
  • Fresh fig “latex” has been found to be an anticancer substance with no adverse effects on the normal cells. It was also found that the latex in figs, dried or fresh, are helpful in treating stomach cancer according to research at Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

4. Lower High Blood Pressure: They are a good source of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure. “when people have an increased intake of potassium, a high intake of sodium is not associated with a high BP” stated in Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research.

5. Alkaline Forming: They are highly alkaline, thus help to keep the body in balance with the high acidic diet most people consume.

And a few more health benefits:

A good traditional medicine for the treatment of anemia, cancer, diabetes, leprosy, liver diseases, paralysis, skin diseases, and ulcers according to the conclusion posted in the
US National Library of Medicine

Also, worldwide traditional medicine has used the fig as a poultices on tumors, warts, and wounds.

Fig Nutrition:

They are full of nutrients. They are a good source of essential minerals (calcium, cooper, magnesium, manganese and potassium) and vitamins such as K and B6.  Also, they have almost 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving and are sodium free, fat and cholesterol free. To learn more go to Fig Nutrition.

Figs according to a study, are dense in phenolic antioxidants.  Figs and dried plums had the highest nutrient score among dried fruits.

dried fig has a higher nutritional value then a fresh one.  One dried fig contains almost as much calcium as an egg.

Please Note: Figs contain high levels of oxalates and may be a concern. When you eat too many they can be a laxative creating diarrhea.  Also, they are high in sugar and you know what that means, do not eat too many.

“Figs, if seen in dreams, denote wealth and prosperity.” ~ Muhammad Ibn Sirin, Muslim mystic in the 8th century.

Fig Trivia

  • The fig tree is a symbol of abundance and fertility.
  • Fig tree leaves are dried and used in perfume and potpourri as they have a pleasant, woodsy-green fragrance.
  • The fig is often mentioned as a sign of peace and prosperity in the Bible.
  • The fig blossom is inside of the fruit; there are no blossoms on the tree! There are many tiny flowers producing crunchy little edible seeds giving figs their unique texture.
  • Adam and Eve clad themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7) after eating the “forbidden fruit” from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.


There is evidence of figs […]

Sweet Hazelnut Balls

By |December 29th, 2016|

These hazelnut balls are sweetly delicious made with healthy ingredients making them full of nutrients.


1 cup rice syrup
1 cup hazelnut butter
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
½ cup toasted hazel nuts, chopped finely
½ coconut fine flakes
½ cup toasted hazelnuts for rolling them in


  1. Blend rice syrup and hazelnut butter.
  2. Mix in remaining ingredients except for 1/2 cup hazelnuts.
  3. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in sesame seeds.

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Papaya Pudding

By |December 20th, 2016|

This yummy papaya pudding is a very easy to make for dessert and super nutritious too.


1 1/2 cups papaya, chopped +1/2 cup extra
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked for about 4 hours)
1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup coconut milk
Few drops stevia or
1 tsp honey


1. Blend the papaya in a blender.
2. Add the nuts, chia seeds, honey and vanilla, blend until creamy.
3. Put in the refrigerator for 20 to 40 minutest to thicken.
4. Now simply mix the half cup of chopped papaya into the pudding.

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Papaya Kiwi Green Smoothie

By |December 20th, 2016|

This papaya green smoothie is easy to make and so tasty. Also, it is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol and is rich in dietary fiber and pectin.


1 cup papaya, chopped
2 kiwi
2 cups Spinach
3/4 – 1 cup clean water


1. Peel and chop kiwi and papaya.
2. Clean spinach
3. Put all ingredients in your blender.
4. Cover all ingredients with water.
5. Blend till smooth ;use the liquefy button on the blender.
6. Drink immediately.

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Fancy Pineapple Salsa

By |December 9th, 2016|

This pineapple salsa recipe is full of health the benefits of pineapple adding excitement to your party food, snacks or even a meal with this very tasty recipe.


2 cups diced fresh pineapple
2 tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup chopped sweet red onion
1/4 cup, chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt


  1. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
  2. Put in Cover and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Serve with vegetable or tortilla chips.

Another pineapple recipe:

Pineapple, Banana Turmeric Smoothie

More Healthy Vegan Dip Recipes:

Avocado Vegetable Dip

Creamy Butter Bean Dip

Yogurt Dip

Healthy Party Beverages

Easy Cheezy Vegan Nochos

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Copyright © Diana Herrington www.RealFoodforLife.com

Pineapple, Banana Turmeric Smoothie

By |December 9th, 2016|

This is a delicious smoothie that is extra healthy with the turmeric and chia seeds for you. A great breakfast!


1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 small banana
1/4 -1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup water or coconut water

Directions: Blend on high until smooth and enjoy!

Learn To Live and Cook Health Principles the Simple Way

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with my 
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Avocado Tomato Salad Dressing

By |November 21st, 2016|

Here is an easy way to jazz up any salad! This is a base recipe that you can alter with your choice of herbs or salty flavors. This is enough for 3 salads.


1 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups avocado
1 or 2 tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp light liquid stevia


1. Put oil, Stevia and salt in blender.
2. Add lemon juice gradually while blending till smooth.
3. Add water and blend till smooth.
4. Pour into a jar.
5. Chop tomatoes and avocado and mix in with olive oil/lemon juice mixture.
6. Enjoy this nutritious dressing on your salad.

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Red, White, Orange and Brown Pulses Are Powerfoods

By |November 11th, 2016|

So, what are pulses?  Pulses are part of the legume family; they are the dried seed of the legume plants. Pulses come in many shapes, sizes and colours such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans to name a few.  They are full of so many health benefits and environmentally friendly.

“pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe, as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals”~ United Nations International Year of Pulses.

Health Benefits of Pulses (Beans and Lentils)

  1. Helps Reduce Risk of Cancer Especially of Colon Cancer

Several cancers including the upper digestive tract, stomach, colon, rectum, and kidneys were found to decrease with a higher consumption of beans and lentils according to a Uruguay study between 1996 and 2004.
In three other studies with 101,856 participants it was found that a higher consumption of legumes reduced the risk of colorectal adenoma. 

  1. Helps with Weight Loss

Consumers of beans had healthier nutrient consumption levels, were less overweight and had 22% reduced risk of being obese and lower compared to non-consumers in a survey between 1999 – 2002.

Also, it was found that one serving of beans per day helped with weight loss in clinical trials with 940 participants at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.

  1. Lowers Risk of Heart Attack

Pulses are a heart healthy food according to Pulse Canada.  Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Follow-up study indicate that men and women who consumed legumes 4 or more times per week had a 22%  reduction in heart disease risk, compared with those who consumed legumes less than once a week.

In a 25 year study with 16,000 middle-aged men in a number of countries it was found that those who ate more legumes had 82% reduced risk of heart attack.

  1. Improves Glycemic Index for diabetics

It was found in a study that adding beans and whole grains in the diet of diabetics there was an improvement in their glycemic index.  Also, in another study, it was found that whole grain and legume powder reduced need for insulin in patients with coronary artery disease.  Many Canadian dietitians recommend eating beans to individuals with diabetes.

  1. Filled with Good Protein

Wondering how to replace meat in your menu, add beans or lentils. They are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as brown rice or millet they provide a complete source of protein without saturated fat.  Beans have the highest protein content of all plant foods.

Pulses provide about 10% of the total food protein consumed in the world and have about twice the protein content of most grains.  Learn more about: Protein Quality of Cooked Pulses. 

  1. Full of Healthy Fiber

Pulses are a food high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds with bile (which contains cholesterol) in the digestive tract carrying it out of the body.  A diet with fiber helps with lowering body weight according to research. Blood sugar levels can be stabilized with a high fiber diet according to research.

Why to Include Pulses in Our Diet:

  • High in protein – 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of cooked beans is equivalent to eating two ounces of lean protein. The guidelines recommend that most adults eat about 5 1/2 ounces of lean meat a day.
  • Lots of fibre – ½ cup serving of cooked dry beans has 4 to 10 grams of fibre.
  • Rich in complex carbohydrates.
  • Contain iron, zinc, calcium, selenium […]

Authentic Middle Eastern Hummus

By |October 28th, 2016|

This is a traditional Middle Eastern dip; it is a blend of garbanzo beans, garlic, olive oil, and tahini.


2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon), plus more to taste
1 small clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste


  1. Drain the chickpeas, save some of the water to use later. Keep a few chickpeas for a garnish.
  2. Put all ingredients in a blender or better is a food processor.  You can add some of the saved water if it needs it for blending.
  3. Blend until it is very smooth which will be 1 to 3 minutes. You may need to scrape the inside of the blender to blend large chunks.
  4. Taste to see if this is the hummus you enjoy. You can add more lemon juice or olive oil to make the hummus creamier.
  5. Put into a bowl, drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and cilantro leaves. Or garnish with few chick peas or olives.
  6. Serve with pita chips or raw vegetables. It will keep for up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Hummus Variations:

  • Cook your own chickpeas from scratch: How to Cook Beans
  • Add more cumin for more flavour.
  • For a lemony hummus, add more lemon juice.
  • Make an olive hummus, mix in 1/2 cup of chopped green or black olives.
  • Create a nutty hummus by blending in some walnuts or pine nuts.

If time and patience allow, pinch the skins from each of the chickpeas; this will make your hummus smoother. I never do it as it does not make it taste any different and for me it is all about taste.

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Misfit Produce Coming to a Store Near You!

By |October 16th, 2016|

Great news! Why throw out edible food?! I was surprised by Save-on 2 weeks ago when I saw Misshapen red/yellow peppers at for only a couple of dollars. There was nothing wrong with them so I bought some and they were delicious.

Then a few days ago I saw this article via Facebook.

‘Misfit’ produce makes grocery store debut in Alberta Save-On-Foods locations

Delicious Black Bean Stew

By |October 13th, 2016|

This stew is easy to make and filled with nutritious ingredients.

1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup fresh corn or frozen
1 cup cooked short grain brown rice
2 – 5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked black beans
1 piece of Wakame Seaweed, rinsed and broken into pieces
2 – 6 tbsp. Tamari
1 Tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Cook black beans for 2 – 3 hours the time is dependent on the age of the beans. (cook according to this recipe)
  2. Saute onions in a little oil.
  3. When beans are soft, add Wakame and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Then add onions, celery, red pepper, carrots, corn and garlic.
  5. Simmer for 1/2 hour or till vegetables are tender.
  6. Mix in brown rice and add Tamari to taste.

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Small Sunflower Seeds Are Packed With Nutrition

By |September 22nd, 2016|

Small Sunflower Seeds Are Packed With Nutrition

Delicious nutty sunflower seeds are a popular snack which is undervalued.  They maybe small but sunflower seeds are a dense source of nutrients and full of extraordinary health benefits.  Sunflowers are beautiful flowers with an abundance of nutrition seeds.

Nutrition of Sunflower Seeds

Half a cup of husked sunflower seeds will give you the following in terms of daily requirement.

  • An excellent source of vitamin E; gives over 116%.
  • A great source of vitamin B1 of 69% and Manganese 68%.
  • A good source of copper 63% and Magnesium 57%.
  • Folate (B vitamin) with over 39%.
  • Good protein of 29% .
  • Also are a good source of fiber, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron.

See full details at Nutrition Data.

6 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

  1. Prevents Heart DiseaseSunflower seeds are high in vitamin E which has been known to help in preventing of heart disease. In 1986, a study with 39,910 U.S. male health professionals aged between 40 to 75 in a Harvard study found that those who got a good amount of vitamin E had a much lower risk of dying of a heart attack.
  2. Helps Prevent CancerThe high Vitamin E in sunflower seeds has been found to be effective in cancer prevention.  Studies at Harvard have showed that Vitamin E protects men from prostate cancer and a study by the Texas Woman’s University suggests that it may reduce the risk of lung cancer.
  3. Reduces Risk of DiabetesThrough years of research, it has been found that a diet rich in nuts and seeds helps balance blood sugar levels reducing the chance of developing diabetes.  U.S. National Library of Medicine gives a list of foods to always choose help prevent diabetes and sunflower seeds are one the foods.
    “The world faces an epidemic of insulin resistance and diabetes. Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish, and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars, and animal fats.” ~ Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, Tufts University.
  4. Maintains Young and Healthy Skin
    Sunflower seed are abundant in Vitamin E which is vital for the care of healthy skin by keeping it hydrated, and helps prevent damage created by the sun and pollution.  Studies on dogs have shown that sunflower seeds and flax seeds helped to keep their skin and fur healthy and free from signs of damage even as they aged. Researchers believe that aging humans could have the same benefits.
  5. Helps Lower Cholesterol
    It was found that high-oleic-acid sunflower oil lowered both triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels according to a study at the University of Sydney, Australia. Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants found in cholesterol particles and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol.
  1. Depression Healed using Magnesium
    Sunflower seeds are a very good source of magnesium which has been found in research to heal depression. 


Fun facts about Sunflower Seeds

  • The tallest sunflower grown was 30 feet, 1 inch in by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany verified on 28 August 2014 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • An anonymous buyer paid $39.85 million for one of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’paintings.
  • The sunflower was used by the Incas as an image their sun god.
  • The sunflower is the national flower of Russia.
  • Sunflower seeds are one of the most consumed seeds in the world. 

Sunflower Seed History

They have found wild sunflower seeds have been found as early as 8500 BC in eastern North America. Sunflowers have been eaten by Native Americans […]