Recipe: Berry Coulis 🍓

“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” is a typical rationalization for an alcoholic beverage earlier in the day. Similarly “it’s warm and sunny somewhere” is one of our favorite ways to declare that it’s always time for ice cream, especially with a berry coulis on top.

What is a coulis?

A coulis is a sauce made from puréeing and straining fruit, or vegetables. A fruit coulis is often added to desserts, as you’ll see suggested below.

Is a coulis cooked?

It doesn’t have to be – the definition above means that you could just blend or purée the fruit and strain it, keeping it raw. Some like a warm coulis added to ice cream, cheesecake, or baked goods.

Here’s a berry coulis that you can add to vanilla bean ice cream, our plant-based Banana ‘Nice’ Cream, or even to decadent gluten-free pecan brownies. Stay tuned for that forthcoming recipe!

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: about 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 pint fresh or frozen berries (we used raspberries)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/3 cup water

1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat on medium-low, stirring and mashing the berries down as they cook. You may also want to use an immersion blender. Cook until the sauce is at desired viscosity or thickness. Strain if you desire the remove the seeds. Otherwise, pour your berry coulis over your favorite dessert(s) of choice to add another dimension of flavor and texture. Enjoy!

Recipe: 🍋 Infused Spa Water 💆

Years ago, when we were providing the nutrition & wellness piece of the spa experience, one aspect really stood out. There was always a large carafe filled with water and some sliced cucumbers. As customers arrived for their facials and health coaching, they received gladly this colorful and delicious infused water. Luckily, you don’t need to book yourself a day at the spa to experience tasty water. We are bringing a bit of luxury to the masses for less than $2. Massage and facial not included. Here we go:

Ingredients

Clean, high-quality water

1/6 of a cucumber

1/2 lemon, sliced

Fresh mint

Instructions

Slice or cut fruit or herbs into desired shapes and place in drinking glass. Add clean, high-quality water. Let sit for a few minutes (or hours, in your fridge). Enjoy!

Top 11: One-minute Energy Boosters 🤣

Unless you have the exuberance of a young child, most of us could use more energy – whether to fulfill our dreams or even just our quotidian responsibilities. The good news: there’s no need to artificially jolt yourself into action with another coffee or energy drink. A few of these natural energy boosters can provide enjoyable, longer-lasting energy for you. Give them a try!

  1. Bouncing or jumping in place and shaking out your hands can be a nice way of shaking off a negative feeling or worries and giving you a bit more energy.

  2. As your shower comes to an end, turn the knob for cool or cold water and let it run over your head, each raised underarm and on your lower back.

  3. Drink a glass of water – this can boost your energy and your detoxification processes.

  4. A minute of laughing can be an excellent mental health and energy booster. Prepare for tears of laughter with this.

  5. For a little pep in the afternoon, place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in your palms, cupping hands over your face. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

  6. Sing the chorus of your favorite song, aloud if you can. Today’s pick was the oldie-but-goodie “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

  7. Go outside – stand in the sun (if it’s out) and notice the temperature, breeze, smells, the birds communicating, colors of leaves and whatever else your senses are picking up.

  8. Play with your pet. A laser pointer or dangly toy for your cat or hide-and-seek with your dog. We like to play ‘tag’ with our bunnies then ‘catch’ and provide cuddles.

  9. Squats. One minute of these will get your blood flowing to and from those large muscles (quads). This can be easily done during breaks from desk work.

  10. Have a small snack – perhaps DIY Hippie Granola with yogurt, a banana with nut butter, or a small handful of nuts.

  11. Engage with a friend or loved one who lifts your spirits. Even a quick text during the day can boost both of you.

Which ones worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Recipe: DIY 2-ingredient Vanilla Extract 🎀

The difference between an ‘okay’ baked good and a spectacular one can be as simple as using a high-quality, concentrated vanilla extract. By making your own, you control these aspects instead of dealing with imitation or watered-down vanilla with synthetic ingredients. Give us the good stuff!

Being a ‘planner’ type, starting to create and buy holiday gifts in July is not unprecedented. This year, we were curious about making our own vanilla extract since we use it in coffee, our 5 Spice Hot Choffee, baking and pretty much everywhere. How hard could it be? Spoiler: it’s so easy and also rather fun. We decided to make 12 bottles and gift them to friends and family. You can do the same. While this recipe doubles as a gift idea, it triples as a way of making the most divine vanilla bean sugar (more on that later).

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Makes 12 bottles

Ingredients & Items needed

2 packs vanilla bean pods (the 2 packs will yield 40 pods and this ensures at least 3 pods per bottle)

10 liters of 80-proof vodka (we bought the 1.75 liter gluten-free, non-GMO Blue Ice Potato Vodka brand and took home 6 of these puppies)

12 swing-top bottles (33oz size)

Funnels, if you don’t have them already

Instructions

Use clean or sterilized bottles (because there are plastic pieces attached, we skipped that step and did a normal cleaning of the bottles and waited for them to dry). Slice vanilla bean pods lengthwise (to expose more of the bean to the alcohol) and put 3-4 in each bottle. Then, using your funnel, carefully pour the vodka into each bottle, dividing evenly between the 12.

If all of this feels too much, here’s the store-bought organic vanilla extract we’ve historically used that sparked the idea for this recipe.

Let’s talk numbers and value.

The vodka, depending on brand quality, varies in price. Our total ran about $180 for the 6 bottles, $40 for the organic vanilla beans, $30 for the swing-top bottles and about $7 for the funnels. That’s about $21.42 per bottle and you’re getting about 29oz ounces in each bottle, more than 3x the amount of the 8oz versions in the store that go for almost $40. In fact, let’s get granular: the store-bought version linked above is $4.65 per fluid ounce whereas ours is $0.74. The value of each bottle, considering the more concentrated and higher-quality ingredients used – in addition to the labor of love involved, is well over $135. That’s vanilla gold right there.

Make the recipe suit you! Smaller bottles (8.5oz vs. 33oz) would drastically bring down the amount, and cost, of alcohol and vanilla bean pods needed.

Tips & best practices: each bottle should have about 3-4 pods for maximum flavor. Start early for next year – similar to wine, vanilla extract tastes better as it ages. Give the vanilla beans as little as 8 weeks to infuse or wait 6-12 months for the richer flavor to emerge. Keep in a cool, dark place and shake bottles once a week.

We love doing calligraphy, but there are plenty of ways to create your own custom stickers for your gift bottles. Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies 🍪

Do you miss chocolate chip peanut butter cookies? Well, with peanuts out-of-the-picture for many school kids (and adults), what can we do instead? Tahini to the rescue!

What is tahini? It’s sesame seed paste that is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and is reminiscent of peanut butter’s taste. With the 90% chocolate chunks and lower amount of maple syrup, this struck us a “healthy cookie” (i.e. not very sweet). Also, amaranth is a come-back grain (really a seed) after a rather sordid history of being banned because it was considered blasphemous (it also strengthened the people to fight against the invaders). Feel free to use chocolate with a lower percentage of cacao and a little more maple syrup, if desired, to fit your sweet tooth.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 11 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1/2 cup tahini

3 oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup amaranth flour (for extra protein; or use gluten-free flour of your choice)

3 tbsp gluten-free oats

1/3 cup maple syrup

1-2 tbsp water (if batter becomes too thick)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine tahini with maple syrup and vanilla. Then add in amaranth flour, gluten-free oats, cinnamon, and salt. Mix and then add chocolate chunks. If batter is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of water or maple syrup (for those who want this sweeter). Scoop onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 11 minutes. Cookies should be chewy and look underdone in the middle (they are vegan and perfectly safe to eat this way). Let set and cool for 10 minutes and then dig in!

💧 Is Your Water Safe? 🥤

isyourwatersafe

With many resolutions around improving health in the new year, one of the specific goals people mention is to “drink more water.” While that is a foundational aspect, you might want to consider first the quality of the water you’re drinking before you increase the quantity. Why?

Water’s unique properties and qualities are what make it essential to us. It helps the human body use minerals and nutrients so that we can:

  • Digest food and eliminate waste products
  • Oxygenate our blood
  • Manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Lubricate our joints as well as protect our brain and spinal cords.

Water is essential for the body’s tiny cells so that they can grow and perform their specialized functions.

The human body’s percentage of water will vary due to age, sex, and body composition. Babies and toddlers have higher percentages of water (65-78%) than adult males (60%) and females (55%). Obese individuals bodies will be a lower percentage of water, because fat tissue doesn’t contain as much of it as lean tissue does.

Water Drinking Guidelines

How much water your body needs will depend upon your age, sex, activity level, and living location (you’ll likely need to drink more water in the desert of Arizona than Alaska). On average, men are advised to get 3 liters of water per day and women 2.2 liters; however, remember that all of this doesn’t have to come from drinking it, as we can also get water from some of the foods we eat.

Too much water can cause minerals imbalances and disrupted sleep. Too little can lead to feelings of hunger and sugar cravings and can cause dehydration, fatigue, poor digestion, skin breakouts, and headaches.

So now we know why water is so important to our bodies and roughly the percentage of water our bodies contain. We also understand the importance of hydration; however, have you considered what you’re hydrating with? If it’s with tap water, bottled, a lightly purified version, or something fancier and carbonated, you’ll want to read on.

Water Safety & Quality

While we’d all like to believe that the water coming out of our faucets is from the purest of mountain springs, that simply is not the case. As you’ll see, the water we drink is fraught with potential peril.

Tap water is the most readily available source, but it may not always be the safest option. While some cities have very good purification systems, others may leave traces of chlorination byproducts, agricultural runoff, lead, chemicals and bacteria.

As a starting point, research your city’s Consumer Confidence Report; it is distributed each year by the Environmental Protection Agency. It may not have all the information you’d want to see, but it can alert you to get further testing and to see if additional home water purification is imperative.

Should I be concerned if my water has fluoride in it?

Even though there’s a ‘legal limit’ to set for fluoride, the water you drink, especially from the tap, may contain 5x more than what is healthy.  It’s tempting to think that fluoride is regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore has undergone the same testing that medicine do; however, it is isn’t regulated by the FDA and hasn’t been rigorously tested. Stay tuned and check out Fluoride: Cavities & Hypothyroidism to learn more.

Some things to know about our water if you’re living in Columbus, Ohio:

  1. Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? Guess what, we have had the same cancer-causing chemical  in our water.
  2. This year, The Columbus Dispatch revealed the highest ‘forever chemical’ content found in our water sample was perfluorobutyrate (PFBA) at 4.8 parts per trillion.

What to do if you want Safer Water

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Since it seems easier to control what you do with the water inside of your home than to enact city- and state-wide change, here are some options to consider:

1. Distilled water. Distillation is a process consisting of boiling water which has been found to remove impurities and toxins. However, some believe the naturally occurring minerals in non-distilled water are beneficial to our health.

2. Bottled water. Most homes get their water from their local water supply company (others often use well water) and, if they aren’t drinking the tap water, they are buying cases of bottled water. Is that really safer? Sometimes bottled water is not from a spring, but it’s tap water that has been purified. Also, there is the issue of plastics leaching into the water and the environmental impact. You may want to consider if the company who is selling your bottled water fits your values (vote with your dollars accordingly).

3. Carbon filters. The carbon filter in many of the refrigerators and pitchers people use will clean up some of the chlorine and improve taste and odor. That’s about it though; these filters don’t typically remove the chemicals and heavy metals that can be present.

4. Reverse osmosis filtration. This is the next step up, and one of the best options. There’s typically a pre-filter to remove sediment and then the reverse osmosis membrane has such tiny holes that only pure water can get through. There are options for re-mineralizing water and alkalizing it through ion-exchange. See the RKIN Reverse-osmosis water filtration systems we tested and use in this video. The counter top version is great for portability; for larger families, the whole-house reverse osmosis system is a good option. Remember to get 10% off your order.

Bottom line

Water filters can help remove contaminants and environmental toxins that enter our water systems.

Keep in mind, it’s easier to remove contaminants from the water we drink than it is to remove them once they’ve been absorbed and assimilated into the body.

One of the simplest actions we can take is to ensure we are drinking high-quality water, and enough of it.

In the Client Spotlight!

client spotlight of recognition

“Working with you was the first time I have ever worked with a nutritionist and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now having done so I can confidently say I’m very happy I did!

As a result of our work together I changed daily food choices in my lifestyle including but not limited to: ditching sugary creamer, consuming less coffee, drinking more water, adding in kale to my daily egg breakfast routine (which I love), lowering my overall weight average by 5 pounds (my husband lost about 10lbs), incorporating more veggies in my meals, and most importantly getting my digestion back on track. I’m proud to say I’m “regular.” 🙂 I also no longer weigh myself after ‘eating bad’ and punish myself by skipping meals. I give myself grace and let my body get back into balance.

Adrienne, you are a wealth of health knowledge! I loved listening to your ideas on how to achieve my overall best level of health—both body and mind, internal and external. I also really enjoyed the ways you help break down my calls to action after each meeting. Additionally, you are full of grace and never made me feel bad if I didn’t stick with something we agreed to. Another benefit is that I look at food and my body in a healthier way. I also think more about ways to improve my mental health on a daily basis by doing things that bring me joy and help my brain breathe.

I’m also happy I did this program as I recently found out I am pregnant with our second child! I feel like it will be easier to cut out coffee now as well as deal with the hormones and cravings for things like nachos and sweets. I know I’ll be eating healthier as a whole.

The most important thing I tell others that you will learn so much about food, your body, and yourself and you’ll be so thankful you did!”

– Christine Y., London, Ohio


You know what ‘sparks joy’ for us? Well this client was not only a lovely, bubbly person to work with but her enthusiasm and gratitude for all she had accomplished reminded us of why we do this work. It is a great honor to guide her, and all clients, from a place where they feel stuck, hurt and in pain, or feeling like something is ‘off’ to where they feel light, whole, confident, and vibrant! Our long-standing mission in life is to help others heal and reach their potential. Thank you for allowing us to work our magic :).

Stay tuned, more client spotlights to come!