Vitamin L for your Heart ❤️

There are all sorts of nutrients that your heart needs in order to be healthy, including: magnesium, polyphenols, omega-3s, fiber and folate. However nutritious your food choices, there is a nutrient of supreme importance – vitamin L.

How is this vitamin different from the A, B, C, D versions you’ve heard about? One, it’s not a physical nutrient. Two, it is among one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Three, when you have it, and share it, your heart beats with pure joy. Vitamin L is vitamin Love. Unlike a pill, you can’t just ‘take’ love. In fact, you have to give in order to receive it.

Could you use a little, or a lot more, of Vitamin L in your life? Let’s start with perhaps the hardest one.

Love for self. Does this surprise you? Most people get a bit flustered or even breakdown crying when asked if they love themselves. It’s such a simple question, but even we were perplexed the first time a holistic doctor asked the same question. Do you love yourself? How do you know if you do? Scrape off the first few layers of how you dress, the car you drive, what you buy for yourself, or the spa treatments you might get – do you truly and completely love and accept yourself? Don’t feel bad if the answer is “I don’t know” or even “no”. You’re certainly not alone. Many of our clients have hidden behind a form of ‘over-performing’ and strict eating and living principles. But really this wasn’t self-love or appreciation, it was a form of self-flagellation. It was shame or guilt that motivated their ‘healthy’ actions. Religious upbringing can play a part in this, but that’s a story for another time.

Imagine if we nourished ourselves with love, appreciation, and joyful experiences. It’s something a green smoothie can’t even touch, in terms of deeper nourishment. So then the question clients want to know the answer to is “how Do I love myself more?” As you might expect, it needs to be personalized, like knowing your own love language.

It might be helpful to image yourself as a separate human being. Would you tell this person, immediately upon seeing them, “boy you look horrible today, and damn girl, look at those thighs”? Probably not. Then why do you say that to yourself in the mornings, upon gazing into the mirror? Being kind to ourselves, in thought and in words, is a form of self- love. Take that vitamin daily. Maybe even double the dose.

Again, imagining yourself as a loved one, would you say “oh, you’re tired? Well, you can go to bed after you clean and organize the whole kitchen, eat the bag of chips and watch another episode, or finish your taxes” or would you say to her “you seem tired and you’ve accomplished a lot today; get some sleep and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to start again tomorrow”?

It’s possible that so many of us were given messages that our worth was in being “good” – as in pleasing others, never asking for what we needed, hiding unpleasant emotions from the public (and ourselves), warning against vanity (through Greek mythology and Narcissus, a man of unparalleled beauty, who fell in love with his own reflection and caused his own demise) and therefore never saying nice things to the person in our mirrors. These factors, and more, can play into how we speak, feel, and act towards ourselves.

Love for others and greater humanity. Aim for positive interaction which each member of your family, with your spouse or partner, your children and your friends. No one is perfect but we can extend kindness nonetheless and give a benefit of a doubt. The best part is that, if you’ve incorporated more vitamin Love for youself in your life, it will spill over into other areas more effortlessly. When you pour from an empty pitcher, you give to others but there is a sense of resentment and depletion. When you pour from a pitcher that is constantly being refilled by your own nourishment, there is plenty to go around, with more joy too.

When we care about our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we make choices about the clothes we buy, the companies we support, and money we donate. Though we will never solve all of humanity’s ills, we can start lessening them. Get into microlending to support small business abroad, say no to fast fashion and buy quality pieces from companies whose dyes don’t pollute waters, refuse to buy from companies who buy water rights and deny clean water to local communities, share information and knowledge to help people improve their own lives.

Share some vitamin L(ove) today and start a new, positive ‘pandemic’ in your own house, community, and perhaps a ripple effect throughout the world.

Recipe: Dairy-free Hot Chocolate ☕

Ready for a treat that won’t take you off track from your new year’s goals? Enter a healthier hot chocolate made with less added sugar, plant-based milk, and with the warm spice of cinnamon.

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

1 cup non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut but for extra creamy texture, try coconut milk)

1 tbsp cacao powder

1-2 squares of dark chocolate (85% or 90% cacao content for less added sugar)

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Heat 1 cup of non-dairy milk in a small saucepan. Whisk 1 tbsp of cacao powder in the hot milk and bring it to a boil. Then add vanilla extract and let it simmer for a few minutes on low heat. Pour into a cup and add 1-2 squares of dark chocolate. Stir and enjoy!

How to Talk with Kids about Eating Disorders

Collage piece, circa 1998

Inside and outside of school, there are many pressures on children and teenagers to look or act a certain way. It’s hard to be aware of, and control, what they are exposed to – whether on social media or in their friend groups- but here’s a question & answer guide to facilitate conversations with your child.

This interview may pop up on VeryWell.com and the link will be placed here when the article is ready to view.

  1. Why is it important to talk to your child about eating disorders?

It is important to talk with your child about eating disorders as a precautionary measure. It will help them build awareness of their own eating habits and to notice if it starts to swing into disordered eating. They may be able to help identify peers or friends who may also need help.

  1. Should you have these conversations only if you’re concerned or just in general? Why or Why not?

There are two sides to this. By starting a conversation and saying that sometimes people starve themselves, over-exercise, or purge in order to look a certain way, a child may pick up on that as a valid way to change the way they look. Conversely, the conversation, including the detriments of eating disorders (e.g. on dental, bone, reproductive, or psychological health – even the risk of death) may help them stay on a healthier path with their eating.

  1. Some parents may be concerned that talking about eating disorders will put the idea in their head or make a situation worse? Is that a legitimate concern?

[See above]. For some children, it can plant a seed in their minds to try unhealthy eating behaviors in order to lose weight. A child, depending on age and disposition, may also rebel against the parents by doing the opposite of what they suggest and become entrenched, or further entrenched, in disordered eating. It would be very appropriate, and perhaps necessary, to bring in a more neutral third party, perhaps a therapist or registered dietitian, to educate the child about disordered eating and its effects.

  1. Should parents talk about how to approach eating from a healthy place or give any advice?

It’s always best for parents to model healthy eating. I’ve heard too many stories from my clients about how their disordered eating started because their mom was on a diet and always talked about how “fat” she was or how dad would eat “whatever he wanted” and then run it off. Children model after and emulate their parents, for better or worse. Talking about eating from a healthy, positive place can definitely help. If the child is open to advice, you can offer it, but I would suggest letting them ask questions to get engaged in the conversation, versus delivering a lecture.

  1. What should parents know about talking about eating disorders?

Just like other topics – including sex education, personal finance, healthy relationships – it’s likely to be an ever-evolving conversation, not a one-and-done deal. Making the child feel safe, by being approachable and providing support, is probably the most important factor in getting them to trust you and participate in these important conversations. Pull in an expert for questions you don’t know the answers to or for a more neutral, objective advisor to counsel your child on their feelings, the way they eat, and more.

  1. How do they start a conversation in an age appropriate way?

Most parents are aware of their child’s maturity level and understanding of various topics. Meet them where they are. Just as you wouldn’t give a five year old child a blow-by-blow account of what happens during a birth, explaining the tax benefits of a Roth IRA, or explaining narcissitic or borderline personalities when talking about building friendships in kindergarten, you’d want to match their level of understanding by simplifying the conversation and making it appropriate to what they need to know at this stage of their development.

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Review: True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

It was another hot day in Phoenix when we first went with our friend to True Food Kitchen. Because we were both dietitian-foodies, we had tried all sorts of local restaurants and smoothie shops…but this restaurant was different. We found out that it was created by our long-time hero, integrative physician Dr. Weil. The food was authentically good – healthy and delicious (so nice when we don’t have to choose between the two). It’s fresh without trying too hard.

During one of our last visits to the Arizona True Food Kitchen, we expressed to our waitress how Columbus could be a great place for another location. When she returned, after speaking with her manager, she told us that there was one on the way. We could scarcely believe it. So we rather (im)patiently waited. And waited some more. AND THEN…

It looked like our wish was about to come true. We mentally planned a jubilant parade through Easton to celebrate the opening.

But you all know what happened. Covid. So another year of waiting.

It was a moment of absolute glee when we were able to visit last week. Did we go a bit overboard? Yes. After hours of wistfully looking at the menu and planning, we were finally able to pick up a rather gigantic order so that we could try nearly everything, and report to all of you. Ah, the things we do for love & food.

Their fall menu had just come out; here’s what we ordered and recommend:

The Butternut Squash Pizza. Oh my goodness, the pizza. There is an evening we’ll never forget that took place in Akron, Ohio. We gathered with a group of friends at Vegeterranean (R.I.P. 2011) and, in one of the best decisions of our life, ordered a butternut squash pizza with carmelized onions and balsamic vinegar. It was so very good, we rather desperately wrote down the ingredients and then stored it in our recipe binder, with the hopes and plans of recreating it. Alas, it has not yet happened and the restaurant is no more. Buuuut….remember this moment from Ratatouille?

True Food’s pizza transported us back in time, while keeping our taste buds mindfully primed for the next exquisite bite. (Vegan and can be made gluten-free)

Grass-fed burger – this was for Mr. Chef, but we’ve had it before in the past and remember the deep, umami flavor from the carmelized onions, parmesan, and mushrooms.

Squash soup. This one was a great surprise! Sometimes squash soup can be a bit boring, but this was anything but bland. The blend of spices in the hot soup conjures up hygge-inspired evenings cozied up with blankets, a warm fire, and company of a loved one.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole. This was another favorite from the AZ location and last week we froze it to keep as a meal for when we weren’t wanting to prep dinner. That evening came and the dish reanimated very well after a proper defrosting and cooking. Definitely recommend. (Vegetarian, gluten-free)

Side of Sweet Potato Hash. This order included what looked like overly-roasted spuds and yet the insides were a bit tougher and undercooked. Having had this side before at the other location, we’re not giving up and will order it again.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Hands-down a winner. The miso sesame vinaigrette, along with the mushrooms and chili threads, created a savory appetizer.

Tuscan Kale Salad. We forgot to order these without breadcrumbs so Mr. Chef was the lucky recipient of both salads. His review: “it had a tangy, citrus-y dressing and if that weren’t enough, it had parmesan cheese on top. The kale itself is good, so it’s a bit like gilding the lily.”

Desserts

Flourless Chocolate Cake. Back in the day when eating gluten-free wasn’t very cool and restaurants pretty much had only baked goods with regular flour, this dessert was a gold mine. We ordered it every.single.time we went. All you need to know is that it contains chocolate, caramel, and ice cream. This dessert is all that and a sprinkle of cacao nibs. (Vegetarian, gluten-free)

Squash Pie. The flavor was very good and reminscent of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. The crust was crisper and the portion more generous than anticipated.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Gluten-free & vegan, cakey and chocolately. We ordered a half-dozen. Only one survived past Day 3.

While we haven’t seen old favorites, such as Kale-aid juice and the Inside-out Quinoa burger yet, we’re thrilled to see what each season will bring to the menu of True Food Kitchen.

Our aim, despite our perhaps rather obvious obsession with this place, is to provide a balanced review. If you like what you’ve read, take a little trip over to 4052 Worth Ave at Easton Town Center. There’s a good chance you’ll catch us leaving there with a pizza.

Recipe: Easy Breezy Basil Pasta

As many of you have probably heard us say, we love food; however, what we don’t love is spending an hour preparing each meal of the day. Sometimes we just need a lunch or dinner to fit 3 requirements: to be nutritious, delicious, and quick. This meal checks all of the boxes and more – it’s gluten-free and plant-based (vegan even). After the early days of taste-testing gluten-free pastas (mostly with dismal results), we are deeply in love with Banza pasta – it provides about 14 grams of protein per serving, about double that of regular pasta, and is made from chickpeas. *Italian chef’s kiss* You’re welcome in advance 😉

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

Prep time: 15 minutes total

Servings: about 2

Ingredients

1/2 box Banza Cavatappi

1/2 package Miyoko’s Vegan Mozzarella , chopped or shredded

2 cups tomato sauce

2 tsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp fresh basil, sliced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

Boil water, add pasta and cook for about 10 minutes or until desired firmness. While waiting, heat chosen tomato sauce on low and add nutritional yeast, dried oregano and rosemary, and garlic powder. Thinly slice fresh basil. Once pasta is done, drain and place on plate with tomato sauce , vegan mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil on top. Easy chickpeas-y meal. Enjoy!

‘Crap-e’ Diem! 5 Tips for AM Poo

What partially inspired this topic was an experience we had while in our dietetic internship (for those unfamiliar, to be a registered dietitian-nutritionist one has 4 years of medical training and then a year of paying, not paid, internship). Between our collective stress as a cohort and our lifestyle factors, which included adult beverages and dancing at bars on weekends, it’s no wonder that, while walking with a friend to meet with our program director, she had a grimace on her face. When asked what was wrong, she grouchily responded, “I haven’t had my morning poo”. We were flabbergasted. Though we were far from the Bridgerton-era of delicate sensibilities, no one talked about poo. Ever. She helped to change that, as her simple statement helped illustrate how integral a morning routine, with a healthy bowel movement, could be. Lest you ever find yourself grimacing because you too have not had a good morning poo, we’ve got you, boo.

Pooping is a common problem in the United States, affecting all ages and populations. About 16% of adults, and 33% of adults 60 and older have symptoms of constipation.

What are symptoms of constipation?

< 3 bowel movements per week

stools that are hard, small and difficult to pass

a feeling of having incomplete bowel movements

Who could be at risk for Constipation?

Pretty much everyone. But more specifically:

• Pregnant women and those who have recently given birth

• People who are not getting enough fiber

• Those taking certain supplements or medications (including iron supplements or diuretics, calcium channel blockers, depression, and pain medication)

• If you’re stressed you’re probably not going to be pooping very well

• Those with certain health conditions or gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. IBS)

Constipation can be a sign of a medical problem so you’re going to want to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to rule more serious issues out.

5 Tips for a Good Morning Poo

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.

1. As a general principle, you want to ensure you are drinking enough water. This seems basic and so many people skip over this, but don’t. When the body isn’t properly hydrated, it draws water out of the colon, which results in hard, dry stools.

2. This goes along with #1; get enough fiber into your diet. Plant foods are a great way to achieve this; however, if you increase your fiber intake without getting enough water, you’re going to have more ‘plumbing’ issues. Adults should get at least 25 grams of fiber per day.

3. Move your body and get your bowels moving. Whether it’s a light morning jog, walk, or even jumping jacks, this could help move things along your digestive tract.

4. Hot beverages. The heat from tea, coffee, or hot water and lemon can help stimulate a bowel movement. The high levels of caffeine in coffee are known to stimulate the bowels. A word of caution, you don’t want to have to rely on this.

5. Squat it out. A toilet stool or Squatty Potty can put your body in a position to make elimination easier.

Remember, talk with your friendly registered dietitian-nutritionist to investigate the amounts and types of fiber in your diet as well as to plan more fiber-rich meals.

So try these tips and ‘Crap-e’ Diem everyday!

Royal Coco-cacao Smoothie Bowl

Did you know that purple is one of the colors of representing royalty? What better way to start your day than to treat yourself like the queen or king you are! This beautiful bowl, with toppings like coconut and cacao, will leave you feeling full and energized. Ready to eat? Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1-2

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

4 large strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut milk from Elmhurst)

2 tbsp hemp seeds

2 tbsp cacao nibs

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

Blend all ingredients, except shredded coconut and cacao nibs, until desired texture is achieved. Top with shredded coconut and cacao nibs or other favorites.

Recipe: Jackfruit Peanut Noodles

Our first instinct was to call this recipe “Jolly Jackfruit” for two reasons: the red and green vibrant colors are reminiscent of the holidays AND it’s a meal that promotes feeling jolly afterward, fueled with plant-proteins and bright vegetables. It doesn’t hurt that the peanut sauce is to-die-for delicious. Use this meal for your new year’s resolutions of eating healthier and/or more plant-based. Enjoy!

Prep time: about 20 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 cans of young jackfruit

2 tbsp olive oil (coconut oil works too)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups kale, chopped

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or use soy sauce or tamari)

2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

1 Tbsp fresh ginger

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (1-2 limes needed)

1/2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional, to help provide a multi-dimensional flavor to the peanut sauce)

8oz rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add garlic, kale, and red bell pepper to cook for 4-6 minutes. Stir regularly. Drain the jackfruit and remove hard core. Use your hands to pull, or ‘shred’ the jackfruit. Add it to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes.

Now it’s time to prepare the peanut sauce. In a blender, add the coconut milk, peanut butter, coconut aminos, lime juice, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil and ginger. Blend until smooth then taste and add seasonings or spice until it’s to your liking.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and then add the rice noodles and cook according to the package instructions While waiting, pour the peanut sauce into the skillet to coat the jackfruit and veggies with the peanut sauce. Stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes before removing mixture from heat. Serve by placing noodles in a bowl and topping with the jackfruit and veggies. Add cilantro, peanuts, or red pepper flakes for additional flavor and garnish, if desired. This dish is best served fresh but can be easily heated up the next day for a delicious lunch.

If you are allergic to peanuts, take heart – almond butter worked just as well for this recipe.

He Certainly gets our Vote! 🗳️

Decision-making has become almost automated, my food routine is more passive, in a good way. I’ve seen myself make better decisions in other parts of my life. For example, I never would’ve considered that nutrition would impact my sleep patterns.


I best like that your process is curated for each individual. There’s not a cookie-cutter system that you use. Instead, you ask questions about my struggles, and we move forward accordingly.


I think it would’ve helped if I had all the knowledge throughout the process from the very beginning. But that’s something that was out of both of our hands. The only way to attain that knowledge was through experiments. I’ve created a healthy relationship with food. I can have two donuts on a random day and not feel guilty because my overall lifestyle is extremely healthy now.


I’ve seen a significant decrease in weight. I’ve noticed increased focus and productivity (something I did not expect from nutrition). In March, I was fatigued and couldn’t focus during my classes. Now my focus has gone through the roof and I can sit through a three hour class with ease. I’ve felt an overall increase in health. My body, in a general sense, just feels great overall!


Hands down this is the best investment I’ve ever made in myself.”

– Raj Patel, Columbus, OH

Foundations of Health Graduate


Each of us is president of our own lives and Raj has wisely invested in himself. All high-performers – including doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, CEOs – need the support of their colleagues and of experts in health & peak performance. Through our work together, Raj also was able achieve one of his main goals, which was to improve his body composition. In 3 months, he lost 33% of his body fat percentage!

What is often needed is not more coffee, but better sleep. Oftentimes we don’t need more bottles of supplements, but food we’ve identified as our most health-supportive ones. We don’t need a masochistic, deprivation diet…we need to learn to change our mindset, get curious, and experiment to see what works.

We are very proud of Raj for his dedication to tracking metrics, willingness to trust the process and try new things, and now, the fantastic results he has achieved. There’s a very good chance that as he emerges from his post-graduate student cohort and maintains his “superhuman” status of being healthy, focused and productive going forward in life.

We reached out to him to see if there was anything he wanted to add; he did: “Additionally, I’d like to emphasize that this was in fact one of the best investments I myself and anyone, in general, could make – largely because of those indirect benefits.”

No matter what this year holds for the presidency….you can always cast a vote for yourself, gather a cabinet, and have the support to level-up in 2020.

Your nutrition expert and coach will assist and guide you on your path to looking and feeling great! Schedule a complimentary 20-minute call to get started.

DIY Hippie Granola

Mr. Chef recently ordered granola and seeing it was a reminder of how we miss the crunchy grain-seed-sweet mixture of it all. What we don’t miss are ingredients that include questionable vegetable oil sources and excess sugar. The good news is that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds – a delectable, crunchable mixture AND have it be higher in fiber and protein from ethical, whole food sources. We made a fresh batch today and are sharing the recipe with you. Go with the flow and have some granola-y, groovy mornings. Can you dig it?

Prep time: 15 minutes, cook time: 40-45 minutes

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

2 cups chopped (or sliced) almonds

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup dried fruit such as raisins or goji berries

1/4 cup hemp seeds

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl then add olive oil and maple syrup. Use rimmed baking sheet and spread mixture out evenly. Bake about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until golden and toasted. About 30 minutes in, add hemp seeds and goji berries to bake for the last 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely and transfer to airtight container. It should keep (if the delicious granola even makes it this long :D) for about 2 weeks.