Recipe: Just another Mochi Monday 🍡

*Reference to an 80s band, hints below!

What is mochi?

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from short-grain glutinous rice. Let’s take a moment to define the term glutinous; it sounds like it would have gluten in it, but it actually means having a gummy or glue-like quality. As long as your mochi is made from rice, without any added glutenous (which means gluten-containing) ingredients, this is a perfectly good dessert option for those who are gluten-free. In making mochi, the rice is pounded into paste and a desired shape.

Is mochi healthy?

For a treat, mochi is definitely a healthier option than most out there. It has carbohydrates from the rice and nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, niacin (B vitamin) and some potassium and iron.

What does it taste like?

Plain kiri (rectangular) mochi tastes like a sweet, chewy marshmallow-rice mix. It’s stretchy like bubblegum and has a soft texture.

How does one eat mochi?

A multitude of options await one who is eagerly staring down some puffed up mochi. You can choose to make it into a nori sandwich by placing the mochi in a sheet of nori and adding some tamari or soy sauce. Mochi can be cubed and added to soups as dumplings. It’s known as a cheese substitute that could be grated into lasagnas or quesadillas (we’ve not tried these yet). As a simple, salty snack just dip mochi into soy sauce or tamari. For those who prefer a sweeter version, try it with some maple syrup and nuts (recipe below).

When is the best time to enjoy some mochi? Pretty much anytime really. While walking down your street, like an Egyptian. When a hazy shade of winter falls around us. Though we’ve eaten it during every season, autumn is a perfect time to have this nice, warm treat

All we can say is that this treat will probably ignite an Eternal Flame of dessert desire in your heart. Get it?

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: about 13 minutes

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.

Ingredients

2 mochi, kiri type (we used the Eden brand, individually wrapped)

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

1/8 cup organic pecans

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and then the mochi on top. When oven reaches designated temperature, transfer baking sheet onto top rack. Bake for about 13 minutes or until mochi “puffs” out sufficiently (turn on oven light and watch the baking ‘magic’) and is nicely toasted.

*Did you figure out the 80s band? What do you think of mochi? Let us know in the comments below.

Why you Need to Eat Honeynut…Squash?!

Truth be told, the only ‘honey nut’ food item we had heard of, before a couple of weeks ago, was of the breakfast cereal variety. Luckily, one of our favorite organic produce stands at the farmers market added to our lexicon AND our playing with a new, rather cute food in the kitchen.

What exactly is honeynut squash?

Honeynut squash is the ‘child’ of butternut squash and buttercup squash. This crossbreeding gives it a flavor and shape akin to butternut squash, but it is sweeter and more the ‘pocket-size’ version of its parent. Perhaps think of honeynut squash as your own personal butternut squash.

Why you’ll want to eat it

It’s delicious. As mentioned above, it is sweeter than butternut squash- and spoiler alert! – even more so if roasted. And we haven’t even dove into why it’s great for your health yet…

What honeynut squash does for you nutritionally

As with most winter squashes, honeynut squash contains a high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene (which gives it the yellow-orange color). It’s also a wonderful source of minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, calcium and zinc. Known for helping with energy production, B vitamins are in good supply here in this squash too.

How to incorporate it

One of the best, and easiest ways to cook honeynut squash, just like butternut, is to roast it. Then you can turn it into caramelized cubes of golden-orange sweetness that can be added to a salad. It can also be added to pasta and even turned into a quick, blended soup.

Stay tuned! We’ll have an easy, delicious recipe for you coming up in the next few weeks.

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: Blueberry & Peach Compote 🍑

Ooh wee! Have you seen the fresh peaches available at farmers markets and grocery stores? If you haven’t already, grab a few along with a pint of blueberries for this sweet, no-added sugar dessert. Compote usually involves fruit cooked in a syrup or with sugar but we just used water and a bit of cinnamon. It’s wonderful to have for breakfast or as a dessert. Life’s a peach!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: about 30-40 minutes

Servings: ~ 9

Ingredients

4-5 ripe, fresh peaches

1 pint blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Dice peaches and put in medium saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom. Add blueberries and cinnamon. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 minutes or until fruit has softened. Enjoy on its own, with oatmeal in the mornings, or with vanilla ice cream in the evenings.

Sugar Detox Champion! 🥇

“This sugar detox challenge came at the perfect time for me, and my family. I had been noticing how the kids were asking for convenient (junk) snacks and fast food, cereals and frozen meals. Since they are teenage boys, they could eat with abandon and seemingly not gain weight. For awhile, I could ignore the voice in my head that said I had to make a change. After all, my husband and I work full-time and with the kids activities and daily life, we were busy and I had a hard time saying no to their requests. It was much easier to give in than try to figure out new food options or recipes. I wanted to be a better role model and I knew I had to address my own sugar consumption. Even though I considered myself a healthy eater, certainly better than average, and had removed a number of junk foods from my diet, I still had my soda dependency to work through. I told myself I needed it for a caffeine boost and that since I ‘only’ had 1-2 sodas a day, it wasn’t a big deal, but it was. I signed up and mentally prepared myself for the change.

The first few days were difficult to say the least. I had a headache and experienced fatigue to the point where I needed to take a nap in the middle of the day. By days 4 and 5, I felt like I was coming out of a fog. My brain felt like it was functioning better and I could think more clearly. My energy started to boost back up, without caffeine! I started noticing my skin tone improve. Things were looking good…

I relapsed over the weekend and felt sluggish, unfocused and foggy-headed. This was a valuable lesson because now I can definitely see the difference when I have less sugar. This makes me feel stronger and more committed to making it last.

I’m not a slave to sugary drinks anymore. I noticed that Coke is kind of a gateway drug for me and, if I had it at lunch, I’d end up ordering a specialty coffee drink (with more sugar) later on that afternoon. Along with this, my alcohol consumption has decreased because I’m no longer having mixed drinks.

Other benefits over the past 25 days include better bowel movements and a yeast infection clearing up, avoiding late-night ice cream and snacks, and having more energy. From my original measurements to the last day of the challenge, I’ve lost 3.5 lbs and a 1/2 inch from my waist. In just 25 days! My skin looks healthier too and though I’m in my late 40s, I’ve been told it’s ‘glowing’. I’ll take it!

My husband and my children still enjoy their frozen treats most evenings, but we’ve all started looking at labels and trying to find better options in the snack or frozen-food aisles. One of my sons has seen his acne clear up significantly and the other is now mixing his sports drinks with water to reduce sugar too.

The sugar detox challenge was full of information that helped me to change individual ingredients in my kitchen and make improvements to our meals. I appreciated the individual support to help me with my challenges with health issues and travel, which I often do for work. Even though I didn’t do it perfectly, Adrienne was always very encouraging and offered practical tips that fit my situation and I still had great results without pressuring myself to do it perfectly. It was totally worth doing. My family and I have learned valuable lessons that we will carry through the rest of our lives.”

Tara G.

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The ’25’ Sugar Detox Challenge is aptly named because it really is a challenge to put effort into changing up the way we view and engage with added sugars. The first 3 days for most people is no joke as energy tends to dip and symptoms can worsen. Getting through that leads to the other side where you can start reaping benefits (which can show up differently for each individual but typically results in improvements with digestion, skin, energy and even body composition). If you have a dependent relationship with sugar, consider this challenge as a way to help break-up with it. Remember: you don’t have to do it perfectly to get results.

Ready to get started? Join today – we start August 14th!

Create your Vision Board 🌈

There’s often a lot of pressure around the new year to overhaul one’s diet, get fit, save for retirement, to change jobs or be a better parent. This is why we usually wait until the first or second quarter to create ours. It’s a great time to check in and see what is and what isn’t working in our lives. Plus there’s still time to get clear on what the rest of the year could look like. Let inspiration be the fuel you need as you strive to attain the next level of success.

When did vision boarding begin?

Vision boarding became popular in the early aughts, somewhat in conjunction with the 2007 movie The Secret about the Law of Attraction, but it has roots further back than that. In fact, collage was a popular art form whose composition of parts (photos, newspaper clippings, and pieces of fabric, for example) was often glued onto a surface to create a whole new expression. We started making collages/vision boards back in high school and would clip images and words from magazines that fit goals we had or just plain inspired us.

Beyond inspiration and pretty collection of images, is there a scientific benefit to making vision boards?

In a Forbes article, neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart says, “[if you] look at it daily and visualize it coming true, this tracks images to your sub-conscious and primes your brain to grasp opportunities that may otherwise have passed you by.” The other key part of what she calls an ‘action board’ is taking a small step towards our goal everyday so that “you’ll be transforming abundance thinking into reality.”

What is the purpose and benefit of making a vision board?

An important purpose of vision boarding includes activating the powerful faculties within us: imagination and visualization. Often, part of the educational process (and beyond, into our jobs) strips these skills away from us in favor of recitation and regurgitation of facts and figures. Activate the skills of your brain’s right hemisphere – home of creativity, imagination, and artistic ability – by sparking a bit of creativity and learning how to dream and have a little fun again.

How to vision board effectively

Continue reading

Part Deuce: Stool Chart & Everyone’s Poop Questions 🚽

Believe it or not, this photo of our Bristol Stool Chart was inspired by a failed recipe (we’ll let you guess which :D) and it provides a visual representation of what types of poop humans can produce. There’s also so much more to cover but keep this image in mind as we answer some common questions.

Why should we care about our bowel movements? Why are poops important to learn about?

Paying attention to what we eat and drink is important for everything from athletic performance to increasing our natural energy levels, giving our bodies the nutrients it needs, and more. On the other ‘side’, feces can give clues to your doctor or dietitian about the quality of your diet and underlying health issues such as digestive problems (IBS, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and more), microbiome bacterial or viral infections, colon cancer, and more.

As Sir Francis Bacon said, knowledge is power. The more you identify, catalogue, and understand the difference between healthy poos and unhealthy poos, the quicker you can make necessary changes to improve your health. You might want to make adjustments to your diet to help with constipation or diarrhea, identify foods in your diet that cause your stool to be difficult to pass or to float, or to make a visit to see your doctor if there’s a problem.

What are the types of poop on the Bristol Stool Chart?

Poo Types
1: hard, rabbit-like pellets that are hard to expel
2: a contiguous piece but lumpy and still a bit hard
3: a smoother sausage-like poop with cracks
4: sausage or snake-like, smooth and soft with the texture or firmness of nut butter
5: soft pieces, clearly separated
6: mushy stool, ragged edges, not well-defined
7: entirely liquid stool

Do girls poop?

Yes, girls poop. So do the Kardashians and other celebrities, your parents, the pope and the president. No one is too important or special not to poop.

Why is my poop red/green/black?

You might have red poop because of something as innocuous as eating beets or even food coloring. The worst scenario is if your poop is red because of blood. This can be the result of a bleeding ulcer or hemorrhoids, for example.

Green poop, or yellowish-green stool, is usually associated with food moving too quickly through your intestines with the yellowish-green bile not being fully catalyzed by enzymes in the gut that turn it brown. Other causes of green stool are: infections, digestive issues (e.g. IBS, celiac disease), food coloring, or a diet high in dark-green leafy vegetable such as kale, spinach, or collard greens.

Black, tarry stools can signal a real issue in your body, including internal bleeding. You’ll likely need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are pregnant, stool changes can occur that have them looking very dark brown or nearly black. So can iron tablets and folic acid supplements. You’ll want check with your doctor to ensure your stool changes are safe. Remember that food dyes can also lead to black poop.

What if my stool is white or pale?

Pale poop can be a result of a liver or gallbladder issue. The liver might not be producing enough bile, there could be a blockage in the hepatic ducts or common bile ducts. Diseases of the liver (such as cirrhosis and hepatitis) and gallbladder (e.g. gallstones) are typically implicated. Other reasons for pale stool could include pancreatic issues, celiac disease, intestinal parasites, cystic fibrosis, and more.

How long should my poops be?

Continue reading

Kiwi? Oui Oui! 🥝

Nope, it’s not about the flightless bird or New Zealanders today – we are all about this tiny, overlooked fruit in grocery store that has so much to offer you. What are its nutritional credentials exactly? Well, here’s a start:

  • It has about twice the vitamin C of oranges, per serving
  • Constipated? There’s more to help than prunes and psyllium – kiwi contains fiber and an enzyme that maybe help move things along, if you get our drift
  • Folate – this B vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects in pregnancies but is also important for building red blood cells and reducing homocysteine levels
  • Antioxidants to help neutralize free radical damage

A common question is whether one can eat the skin or not. Yes, you can eat the skin. It’s fuzzy and can kind of tickle the mouth a bit, but it has fiber and the skin doesn’t have much of a taste on its own. In terms of the fruit, the texture is similar to that of a banana but with crunchy seeds in the middle (similar to chia seeds). We think these elements come together to create an interesting and sweet snack.

How to eat kiwis:

The easiest way is to slice it up and enjoy it on its own.

We love it in our Red, White & Blueberry Fruit Tart and Spiced Vanilla Chia Pudding.

How will you eat your kiwi? Share in the comments below.

Build a Better Body Bootcamp

You know your health and body image aren’t where you want them to be. You also realize that short-term resolutions and yo-yo dieting is not the answer.

The Build a Better Body Bootcamp is a 6-week program designed to help you improve the elements of your diet that lead to sustainable changes in body composition and weight loss. During these 6 weeks, we will cut through the confusion and provide the tools you need to jumpstart your better body. Topics include:

  • Deceptive marketing and nutritional confusion
  • Navigating nutrition facts labels
  • Building better meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • MyPlate and portion sizes
  • Healthier snack and dessert options
  • Measuring and tracking your success
  • Sodium, sugar and fat
  • Navigating social events with ease
  • Better restaurant & fast food options
  • Styles of eating

Many of us have been stuck in nutritional confusion for so long (“are eggs good for me? What about coffee? Am I eating too much fruit?”) without support to actually make the changes we desire.

By using the tools and getting clarity and support from our private community, you’ll be able to take this dedicated time to springboard yourself into healthier habits. Benefits include:

  • Jump-starting your new eating protocol, not a fad ‘diet’
  • Learning how to feed yourself, and your family, better
  • Changing your body composition – feel stronger, leaner, and more toned
  • Feeling better
  • Having more energy
  • Better digestion and regular bowel movements
  • Improvement of chronic health issues

Here are the details. The 6-week Build a Better Body Bootcamp starts on Wednesday, April 27th and ends Wednesday, June 8th.

  • Includes weekly live meeting with Integrative & Functional Dietitian-Nutritionist where we breakdown topics into bite-sized action steps
  • Tools and recipes
  • Private Facebook group for community support
  • Skills practice
  • Accountability and resources

Ready to rock a better body? Let’s go!

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Fast-action BONUS: for those who know they are ready to make the changes and sign up by Monday, April 18th you’ll be able to join our next Sugar Detox Challenge, beginning May 22nd, for FREE!  (Valued at $197)

Questions? Schedule a complimentary 20-minute call.

Choose your Water Wisely 🚰

Disclosure: this is not a sponsored post; products were provided by the manufacturer. 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.

Unless you live in Switzerland, New Zealand, or Norway, it’s time to pay attention to the water you drink. Why? Because those countries have high-quality tap water (rated by entities such as the World Health Organization). Switzerland, for example, has strict standards for water treatment and their drinking water tends to come from natural springs or groundwater. New Zealand has focused on meeting chemical and bacterial standards in its water. Since the early aughts, Norway has been working on its disintegrating, aging water infrastructure (a problem the US shares).

So, why are we talking about this today? Well, everyone is told to drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated. We would be remiss not to mention the importance of the quality of water alongside any recommendation to increase its consumption.

Having experienced tap water from both coasts, many states and countries too, we’re just glad to be alive. Kidding. Kind of. As you may remember from our other article Is your Water Safe? there are many issues with water, including: fluoride (especially when it comes to endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism), chlorination byproducts, agricultural runoff, lead, pharmaceutical compounds, chemicals and bacteria. Oh and ‘forever’ chemicals. This other article deals with the control certain companies have over our water and waterborne illness. And this one, Water: A Human Right or a (Paid) Privilege? is important as water is both a global and home-country issue (also, get to know the parent company of your bottled water!).

During our teenage years, our household had a reverse osmosis filter installed and the water, when we did drink it, was of better quality. But then came college and post-college years of way more tap, bottled water, or the carbon filter types (e.g. Brita and PUR). After many years of buying water by the gallons or carbon filters, we looked into systems that we didn’t have to install and found a couple of countertop options, including the RKIN Zero Installation Purifiers (we compared the AlcaPure and OnliPure versions here).

These have been great, but we as a household apparently drink a lot of water and were filling up the containers multiple times a day. When we moved into our more permanent dwelling, the fridge had a built-in, carbon filtration system (which we use now to water some of our non-edible plants) and so we still needed a reverse osmosis solution. The undersink reverse osmosis system made more sense as it provided quality water at the kitchen sink, on demand (and it refills itself). Another bonus was saving some countertop space. If you are a student or are renting, the countertop version might be best whereas the undersink version might serve you better if you’re in a long-term situation.

So we had the reverse osmosis system set up at our sink and everything was hunky dory for awhile, but we noticed mineral deposits around our bathroom faucets and other symptoms of hard water. Since our water comes from a well, we weren’t entirely surprised when the data we received from our water suppliers showed that yes, we do have hard water.

In comes the softener system. The set-up was a bit complicated but the result is worth it. You can see the difference between our tap water and filtered water, softened and unsoftened in this video (near the end).

As you might now see, this article builds on, and is complementary to the others we’ve written about water quality. We suggest you test your water and ask for the annual report. If you’re not feeling like tap is your best option, consider a carbon filter at the very minimum and a reverse osmosis system as one of the best options all of us currently have. A softener might come in handy too; again, learn about your water supply. Bottled water is fraught with issues – including plastics and our environment, supporting certain companies unwittingly, bottled ‘spring’ water containing tap or carbon filtered water, and more.

Unless you plan to move to Vienna, Austria (where tap water flows from water protection zones in the mountains into the city) or one of the other top tap water countries, we need to take personal action on our tap water here in the United States.

Bottom line: the human body is mostly water and we need plenty of it for proper hydration. It makes sense to put some time, attention, and effort into making sure yours is the best it can be. We may not be able to control our municipal water, but we can exert some control within our homes by further filtering our own water.

If you like what you see on the RKIN website, click here and get 10% off your order.