About

April

April Ashcroft, Nutrition Coach & Cooking Instructor

I grew up enjoying the standard American diet (SAD) and have a standard American family.  Both sets of  Grandparents, my Dad, aunt and uncle suffered the consequences of heart disease and diabetes. Both my parents died of cancer. I decided in my early 20’s that I was going to do everything I could to avoid what many would say is my genetic destiny. After struggling with my own health issues, battling my weight, and basically just feeling horrible, in 1991 I switched to a whole food plants based (vegan) diet.  Within a week my world changed. My energy skyrocketed, I felt amazing and maintaining a healthy weight became much easier.  Because of this experience and meeting others with similar experiences, I developed a great desire to teach others. I began teaching cooking classes in 2004 through the Dixie State College Community Education program. In 2005 I co-founded the Vegetarian Society of Utah and continue to serve on the board of directors. The monthly potlucks give me more opportunities to teach, meet others and create friendships.

In 2007 I created Health 4 Life Cooking classes where I give participants up-close and personal instruction on how to put plant based cooking into action in the kitchen.  I teach private classes as well as classes for church and civic groups.  From 2010 to 2015 I taught monthly classes at the Bosch Kitchen Center and Kitchen Corner store in St. George.  In 2010 I earned a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University’s Nutrition Fundamentals on-line certification program. Since 2006, I’ve been a member of Dr.Furhman.com where I keep up with the most cutting edge un-bias nutritional research and love to share it with you! In January 2012 I joined the team of providers at The Bridge Health Recovery Center. This is an exciting opportunity to help those who are suffering from chronic illnesses and seeking health through20150802_203725 holistic methods.

After many years of developing my own recipes, I published my first cookbook Whole Food Goodness, which is not only a collection of my favorite recipes but also contains documented research studies and other references supporting the health benefits of a plant based diet. In August 2014, I published Whole Food American Favorites, a 2nd cookbook featuring not just American food, but the food that Americans love including Mexican food, Mediterranean, Asian and more!

I live in beautiful southwest Utah with my husband Brian and cats Benson and Baxter. I love hanging out with my family, which include three daughters and seven grand-kids. I love hiking, biking, swimming, water and snow skiing, and anything that involves being in the great outdoors! (I’ve even been seen ironing on my back patio!)

 

 

My Daily Menu Plan

Citrus Blast

Citrus Blast

People often ask me what I eat in a day. Here is my daily meal plan that I have been using since I started a plant based diet in 1991. It’s an easy way to keep things simple.

Breakfast: Breakfast has always been easy because it is the same thing every day: a green smoothie. Green leafy vegetables are the most health promoting and disease reversing foods on the planet. To say I’m obsessed with getting them in is an understatement.  I strive to get them in with every meal. For my breakfast smoothie, I always have the three most important components on hand: a variety of fresh and frozen fruits, greens, and seeds. I try to use fruits in season; rotate the seeds between flax, chia, and hemp; and use spinach, kale, and collards as my staple greens. 

This past year (2015) I have incorporated wheat cereal into my morning breakfast routine.  As I have gotten older, my body doesn’t tolerate a lot of sugar, even from fruit. My energy level in the morning wasn’t where I wanted it to be (sometimes really dragging), so with a little experimentation, I learned that I was getting too much sugar from my smoothie. So I cut the amount of fruit in my smoothies, which in turn cut the calorie content which needed to be replaced.  I felt I needed to incorporate more wheat into my diet (not in the form of flour/bread), so I’ve added sprouted wheat berry cereal. I believe wheat is one of the most nutrient rich grains. I soak 2/3 cup of whole wheat berries in water for 8 hours. Drain and rinse them well then leave them to sprout for a couple of days, until they grow a little tail.  When a grain is sprouted like this, the nutrient content increases 100 times! I then add them to a sauce pan with water, bring to boil then turn the heat off but leave them on the burner to finish cooking. (My stove is electric to the burner stays hot.) Then I drain, add a teaspoon of local honey, 1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses, and 2 Tbsp of chopped walnuts. This amount is enough for 2 mornings. I also like to add 1/4 cup of blueberries to each serving.

After almost 25 years of eating only fruit and smoothies for breakfast, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like eating this heavier breakfast addition, but I love it! And my energy level is always very high! I find myself wanting to run more.

Lunch: I’ve been eating a big leafy green salad for lunch every day (except weekends) since I started a plant based diet in 1991. And I have never gotten tired of it. I encourage everyone to make a lefty-green salad as the main dish for a least one meal every day. Lunchtime works for me, but dinner or even breakfast may work better for you. For variety, I use different types of beans and dressings, various tySaladpes of lettuce, red or green onion, and a cruciferous veggie like cabbage. Sometimes I’ll add whole grains like quinoa, rice, millet, or wheat berries. Sometimes I’ll mix in left over dinner from the night before. Hearty soups like minestrone or chili are great mixed in with my salad. I keep it simple enough so my salad only takes 10 – 15 minutes to prepare.

Dinner: With breakfast and lunch already planned, dinner is the only meal that I have to decide on each day. Most of the time I’ll make a recipe from one of my

Thai Kale & Chic Peas

Thai Kale & Chic Peas

cookbooks, but sometimes I’ll try something new that I have found off the internet. I find, however, that I have to tweak it to meet my standard of “high-nutrient” which means they include Dr. Furhman’s GOMBS: greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, and seeds. My most favorite quick meal is steamed greens,with onions, mushrooms, garlic, a type of bean and some kind of ground up nuts, seeds, or avocado. Then I spice it up either Mexican, Italian, or Indian.  So simple and delicious!

Desserts: It would be fine to have a small serving of one of my desserts every night. They are healthy enough. My problem is that when that one small serving is gone, I want more and more and more until I’m completely stuffed and that is so unhealthy. I really battle sugar addiction, even in the healthiest form and so it’s best for me to have none. Occasionally I might have a date or two but that even starts a cascade of wanting more and more. I would just rather not go there.  Desserts are important so when I do make them, I have my kids over to share it with.

Snacks: I don’t snack. I can’t. For the very reason mentioned above. Food addiction. I could eat all day long. I could be obsessed with food. That is why I have to stick to 3 meals a day with no snacking in between. (Occasionally, I might have an apple or other fruit) This has been shown to contribute to longevity anyway and that is what I’m shooting for.  

Something else that contributes to longevity is fasting. I hate to fast but do a 24 hours fast once a month for religious purposes and I try to fast for 12 hours ever night. Kitchen is closed at 7 pm and I have my smoothie around 7 am on week days and I usually go until about 9 am on the weekends. That kind of fasting gives your body a much needed break from digestion, which increases cleansing and detoxification processes.  

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of fasting and time restricted eating click here.

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Cookbooks by April

Now at a reduced price of only $13!

Order yours today!
100% Plant Based
100% Nutritious
100% Delicious

Book front

Whole Food Goodness

“Thank you April for your cookbook. We have been using your recipes for about 10 weeks now and I’ve lost 25 pounds. We’ve not been perfect but darn near. Best of all, I’m feeling healthier and I don’t feel deprived.” Rob - Pocatello, Idaho
Whole Food American Favorites FRONT cover finale

Whole Food American Favorites

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"Your recipes are making it much easier for us to keep on the diet." Yvonne, St. George
“I just love your cookbooks! I’ve been gradually working towards a plant based diet since about 2012 and have used a few really good cookbooks – the happy herbivore books, the China Study Books, Engine 2 etc — which all gave me a great foundation for this approach. Your cookbooks have offered new ways of seeing some of the recipes . I’ve made a few of the deserts, some of the loafs, and breakfasts. Great use of herbs and spices, and I like the fact that the ingredients are very simple to use. ” Thanks again, Sue

Whole Food Goodness and Whole Food American Favorites contain a collection of my favorite high nutrient whole food plant based recipes. My recipes are unique in that they contain no extracted oils, minimal processed sugars, and limited processed grains. I use an abundance of leafy green vegetables, which are the healthiest foods on the planet and have the greatest power to cleanse, detoxify, and repair damaged cells and bring you greater health for life.

Along with the recipes, you will find quotes from some of my favorite nutrition experts and documented research studies that will tell you why it's important to eat a plant based diet. Knowledge is power and it is my hope and prayer that these books will help you gain the strength and determination to make the changes necessary that will bring you excellent health throughout your entire life!

You can purchase a copy of Whole Food Goodness at these locations:

Downtown Yoga
50 E Tabernacle
St. George, Utah 84770
http://downtownyogasg.com/

Sunshine Nutrition
111 W. 535 S, Cedar City, Utah

Harvest Moon Health Foods
1241 North Main, Layton, UT 84041
(801)-719-6028