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
4-5 ripe, fresh peaches
1 pint blueberries
1 tsp cinnamon
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.
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.
Ever since completing the pantry organization project, the fridge has practically been begging for a deep clean. With cold weather encouraging indoor activities – and with spring around the corner – we decided it was time to load up our favorite music as we worked towards the vision of a gleaming fridge.
Time: about 45 minutes total, including back of the fridge
Materials needed: paper towels, vinegar or cleaning spray, vacuum for back of fridge and floor, organizational bins (optional), your favorite music and beverage to hydrate
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.
Step 1: Pull everything out of your fridge. Keep a cooler nearby and fill it with the fresh meats and other temperature-sensitive perishables. Throw away any old, moldy ‘science experiments’ that have taken residence at the back of the fridge.
Step 2: Remove the shelves and clean them; wipe down the sides and doors inside of the fridge.
Step 3: Because the fridge is lighter without food inside of it, this could be a good time to carefully pull fridge out a few feet to gain access to the back (this took two people for us). Unless you’ve cleaned the area recently, there’s probably everything from dog hair to Nerf gun balls and crumbs. And that’s just the floor. We were surprised by what we found too, relics of previous inhabitants:
Unplug the refrigerator before doing any sort of maintenance or cleaning to avoid electrocution. Vacuum the floor and the coils. We used canned air to get ours clean too. You might also want to wipe down the area behind the fridge, including walls and floor. Ah, that’s better.
The coils help keep your fridge cold and when they are covered and dirty, the fridge has to work extra-hard to do its job. You’ll likely notice better-performing, quieter fridge operation. Your electricity bill might be lower too. All types of winning here! Now you can plug your fridge back in, roll it back into its proper place, and pat yourself on the back.
Step 4: Put bowl or box of baking soda inside, near the back fridge, to help absorb odors. Put fresh paper towels into drawers; use or obtain plastic bins for organization and easier clean-up in the future. We used Bino Stackable Storage Bins XL (4 pack).
Step 5: Quickly check expiration dates and wipe down bottles and jars of various food items as you add them back in.
Step 6: Wipe down the top, sides, and front of the fridge after removing any old coupons, save-the-dates, and magnets. Cut and curate, then place desired artwork or magnets back.
Now that you’re done, step back and admire your handiwork.
How long will the gleam last? Probably not long enough, but there are some ways to keep your fridge fresh between deep cleans. How often should a deep-clean be done? Quarterly. Put it in your calendar and start working on your energizing playlist now. You might want to check behind the fridge every quarter to every six months to ensure the coils aren’t covered in dust and dirt. In the meantime, here’s what to do monthly:
Keep up with your first-in, first-out system.
Consider replacing drawer linings with fresh, absorbant paper towels to help with moisture and any leaking from forgotten foods.
It’s not quite a heavenly experience, but opening the refrigerator doors and the seeing light bouncing off the clean surfaces and colorful foods might just make you smile.
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!
If you’re one to make New Year’s resolutions, the list may look something like this:
Gain better control over blood sugar
Fit into my clothes better, look and feel great!
Instead of taking a shotgun approach to improving our health, focus on one simple thing (which is one of America’s top health issues) and poo better. Everyday. If you can improve your digestion and get the garbage out of your body better during the next 365 days, you are bound to see beneficial changes in your digestion, weight, skin, cholesterol levels and more.
So, my constipated comrades, let’s start the new year off by pooping like pros!
You see, by just focusing on having a good poo each day, you can reap the benefits of better blood sugar regulation, lower cholesterol, and a decrease in bloating and body weight. It also lends itself to having better energy when you don’t have a bunch of garbage in your gut.
We’ve explained it to children as young as 2 and to adults; assuming a healthy digestive capacity, when you eat food, your body absorbs the nutrients and sends the remainder to the colon. It’s imperative to take out household trash regularly and so it is with getting the garbage out of our bodies. Hence, pooping.
Bowel movements are a completely necessary bodily function that, in removing waste, also create more space in the digestion system. Like emptying your bathroom wastebasket regularly allows room for you to put more stuff into it.
The act of defecation has both physiological (it stimulates the pudendal and vagus nerves) and psychological beneficial effects. A really morning good poo can make you feel like a brand new person, ready to conquer the world.
So how do we accomplish better poos in 2022? Easy.
Start by noticing the frequency and quality of your poos. Use the Bristol Stool Chart to keep notes.
Learn the elements necessary to have the perfect poo.
Implement tools to deal with stress. The body doesn’t do its trash-removing duty well during periods of Sturm und Drang, heightened emotions and stress.
Set up a morning routine which includes bowel-stimulating drinks or food as well as time to sit and have a Good Morning Poo
Remember that you may need to address any underlying thyroid issues, food sensitivities, stress sources and managment, and sleep quality. Always speak with your doctor or healthcare provider if you notice bloody stool, severe constipation or abdominal pain, and other troublesome symtoms.
This ONE change of having better poo can set you up for this year, and many to come, in helping you achieve your goals of attaining better health and taking better care of your body.
Haven’t joined our Go with your Gut Facebook group? Now’s the time. Need results sooner?
Our 10-day Express Detox will guide you through the process of removing extra sources of toxins from your diet (and hygiene products) along with and assisting your body’s detoxification processes. The whole-foods, plant-based approach is a great jumpstart into your new year.
We have formulated the daily menu plans and built the process into easy-to-follow steps. By removing most of the major food allergens and incorporating a plethora of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, and legumes, the 10-Day Detox assists the body in ‘rebooting’ in a healthy way.Our masterclass takes place on January 2nd so you can make healthy changes in early 2022!
Suffice to say, we’ve watched more than our fair share of Netflix and YouTube organization videos – in addition to reading books and listening to podcasts. We find it a nice blend of relaxing and also energizing as we see what is possible. Inspirational sources include: Home Edit, Marie Kondo, The Minimalists, Home Body, Cas the Clutterbug, and more.
As we tell our clients, it’s great to have lots of knowledge, but the transformation happens with implementation. So we first we absorbed and planned and then we took about two good hours and made this happen. If cleanliness is next to godliness, this was a religious experience. Drink the communal wine, play some music, and join us in these 7 steps:
Take measurements of the pantry. Height between shelves, depth of the pantry, length of shelving. This will serve you especially well if you are looking to optimize the space and for ordering containers that fit. Otherwise skip this step and proceed to step 2; while passing Go, do not collect $200 but save yourselves the extra three hours we spent here.
Pull ALL items from the pantry and clean. Yes, it will look overwhelming but will probably only take 10 minutes. We swept the kitchen floor and had the kitchen table cleared off for this moment. Once you’ve removed everything, take another 10 minutes to wipe down the shelves and clean the floor of any sticky gunk or errant crumbs.
Obtain containers. Use what you have already first; we pulled some from our office and basement. If you don’t have enough, and want the space to look more coherent and put-together, consider the containers that will complement, and fit, the space. This is the perfect opportunity to take those measurements and nerd out while shopping for the ‘perfect’ organizational materials. We ended up ordering a set of 3 clear plastic containers for the pantry (and another set of 4 stackers mainly used for the fridge; that’s another post), 1 small clear container with lid and wire bins for the bottom where we had more vertical space. We were able to get the two little tea bag holders from HomeGoods. Disclosure: some of the links 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.
Clean your bins and remove stickers. One of these Bino ones had such a sticky sticker that it smeared as we tried to clean it with essential oils, vinegar, metal scrubber – everything. If you have a hack for this, let us know. Otherwise, it’s being accepted as part of our perfectionism recovery program.
Pull expired food out to throw away. There will likely be some food waste; show yourself some grace and move on. Remember the FIFO system (first in, first out) for the future so that you rotate items with a sooner expiration date to the front and put your new groceries to the back.
Sort and Categorize. With all the pantry food you’ll have on the floor, start sorting them into categories that make sense to you. We have baking (rolled oats, flours, sweeteners), extra spices/herbs backstock, tea, oils & vinegar, snacks, potato bin, international cuisine items (e.g curry sauce, salsa), tomato sauce and paste, nuts and seeds, pasta and noodles, rice and broth, Mr. Chef specialty foods, our ‘superfoods’, and chips and crackers all in categorized bins or areas of the pantry. Your brain will know where to look and quickly grab the item when it’s all laid out this way.
Labeling – just do it. Create labels for the bins, shelves, and jars if you want to. We were going to make this step optional (and it still is if you live alone and understand your own system) but here’s the thing: your family, even those from your own DNA, aren’t mind-readers. Just because you’ll know where everything is, and think the organization makes sense, doesn’t mean they will. It might seem obvious that the item being searched for is in the ‘baking’ box, or that the tea needs to go in the clear container where all the other teas are hanging out but save yourself and your loved ones the frustration. Just label it. We created labels with brown paper, a scrapbooking punch tool, and some calligraphy (a hobby we enjoy). Do what works for you!
Now, take a break, relax, and snap a photo for Instagram (or comment below) to share. You did it! AND you’re taking getting organized now instead of waiting for 2022 to start. Gold star for you!!
Maybe you remember the Duracell battery commercial with the little pink bunny rolling across the floor and beating a drum with the tagline “it keeps going, and going, and going…” If you’d like energy to keep you going all day long and perhaps all week or month long, you’ll want to pay attention to these two main forms of energy – physiological and psychological energy – as well as more esoteric ones we’ll get into shortly.
We could recount a song all about the Kreb’s cycle (nerd out with us and have a listen) and re-live the intense science behind chemical reactions, but suffice to say, the citric acid cycle is all about how our body creates energy for physical and mental performance.
For your best chance at improving your natural physical energy, consider some tips:
Get proper sleep and nutrient-dense foods into the diet (those with a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants along with the calorie intake). Avoid added sugars, questionable additives, and low-quality fats.
Understand energy drains. Low energy can be a result of everything from improper thyroid function to having processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar. We can also feel lower energy as a result of the body’s burden in dealing with environmental factors such as poor air or water quality, exposure to plastics, heavy metals, mold and/or chemicals.
Exercise will initially seem to be an energy drain, but it will gift you more energy on the other side of your workout and can help with sleep (another energy-giver).
It’s a common experience to be influenced by interactions with other people. After some exchanges you may feel more energized, inspired, and light whereas after others you might have felt lethargic and down. Whether the conversation was one-sided or ‘all about them’ or featured constant complaining, you may feel like you’ve come into contact with a ‘Colin Robinson’ or energy vampire.
Another example of psychological energy identified by research is called the ‘mental load’, the cognitive and emotional labor involved in keeping up a household and tending to family. In most cases, the mental load tends to fall on women to bear. This can include researching and planning options around a son’s new braces, figuring out all the ingredients needed for Thanksgiving dinner, remembering birthdays and anniversaries of not just their own friends and family, but their partner’s as well. And this is a small list. Take a moment to see if an element of mental load could be influencing your psychological or mental energy.
Depression has a number of causes and, when it settles in, you may find your overall energy zapped – mind and body. Depending on the duration and severity, you may benefit from talking with your doctor or healthcare provider, therapist, and integrative health coach.
Physical clutter can also lead to mental clutter, feeling as though your mind is overstuffed with ideas, to-dos, and that your attention is pulled in many different directions at once. Because physical clutter can impact mental health and affect everything from sleep to anxiety and our ability to focus, it’s an area worth improving. (Psst! See our next class coming up in December)
More Esoteric forms of Energy
Examine the energies of yin and yang or masculine and feminine within yourself and how you live your life. Are you always hustling, running on adrendaline, and contracted (hunched or tight shoulders)? Or do you live a slower, more free-form and intuitive-based life? The first one is more yang or masculine energy and the other is more feminine or yin energy.
This can also play out in food – alcohol and sugar are more extreme yin whereas meat and salt are more extreme yang. These extreme yin/yang foods can create cravings for each other AND can be what we turn to to balance ourselves out. An example would be a very ‘yang’ type of person – think New York City executive- walking fast, yelling into his phone, tight and contracted shoulders. He may turn to more yin foods, such as alcohol, drugs, sugar or ice cream – to help balance himself out. It’s an interesting way to look at food that most nutritionists don’t, but can help explain cravings and how each of us finds a sense of equilibrium in our lives.
We also have the Ayurvedic concept at play – for those who are more vata energy, there can be a scattered energy or fast ‘windy’ feeling to our thoughts. This is another way of viewing energy and gives a clue on how to balance out a person’s energy. Here’s a primer on Ayurvedic body types and seasons.
Tips to improve psychological energy:
Spent time wth those who inspire and make you laugh
Examine your own Ayurvedic dosha (we have resources to help!)
If you’re finding your masculine energy too high and feminine energy too low, consider engaging in more creative projects – art, music, dance, pottery, or yin yoga – and slowing down in all areas of your life. Be open and receptive to ideas, people, and connecting with yourself and your spirit.
Consider acupuncture for the physical and psychological balancing of Qi
Beyond calories, look at your foods from more of a yin and yang perspective.
As you can see, energy doesn’t come from the amount of caffeine in your cup, the calories you eat and how they convert to ATP – it is a multi-faced area of study. Choose one area to focus on and a simple step to improve that type of energy (e.g. drinking more water, having more art or play time). For personalized assistance with a holistic nutritionist and comprehensive approach to energy management, reach out.
“I bought a size 8 in pants today. I used to be a size 18. I’ve dropped 90lbs (the same weight as my 12 year old!) and my last 5 pounds took a month to lose.
I feel wiser and I really appreciate you helping me think things through. When I started the program the first time, it was with the goal to lose weight as quickly as possible and stop feeling so bad about myself. I lost weight and slowly regained it because my mindset had not changed. This time around I realized that I needed the deeper healing approach and boy has it worked!
I cook much more than I used to and once a month I have a crazy meal where I have whatever I want. The weird thing is that I don’t treat it like I did before when I’d almost binge on my cheat day. I have what I want and move on with my day. Also, my taste buds have changed and old fast food favorites like a chicken sandwich and fries aren’t as good as I thought. Oh, and I think I’m getting to the point where I don’t like sugar. I avoided the cookie aisle but walked down it recently and nothing really appealed to me. I looked at soft chewy cookies, mint chocolate milanos, and Oreos but didn’t want them without milk. I left them all on the shelf and this would never have happened before. My last sweet was a doughnut from work and it took me a couple days to eat it. Because I don’t restrict myself, I don’t eat too much. I can eat soup or pizza for dinner and I feel good about my choices.
I’m dedicated to walking nearly every day and have looked for more adventures like exploring trails with friends. I know myself better too. My gym workout has to be in the morning or it doesn’t get done and I fight myself the rest of the day. I love the life binder you suggested and am trying to incorporate it more consistently. I love the structure of my mornings, my recipes, to-do list, and journaling. It’s repetitive probably but I like my meal options and not having to plan something on the fly.
What I love about working with you is that you help me get in to my own body and to examine my thoughts. What I carry with me is when you told me to trust the process and my journey, which has taken time. It felt like being pregnant and giving birth to my new self. Sometimes I felt like I was flying high and the weight was just melting off but other times I felt stuck at a plateau and was discouraged thinking I wouldn’t be able to move past it. You were able to guide me no matter the stage I was in and I always left our appointments feeling encouraged and ready to do my “homework.” This was never a Diet and you never let me give up on wanting better for myself.
My self-talk is healthier, my sleep is really good and menstrual cycles are better. I realize that in working with you that it was never about the weight I wanted to lose, it was about the life that I wanted to live and now am living. I love myself more and act like it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
This client is a gem and a double-winner. The first time we worked together, this client was fresh off another ‘diet’ (read: deprivation state). She thought she needed less calories, more rigid meal-planning, harsher exercise – more of everything that was mean to herself in order to lose weight. Though she did lose weight the first time, the method wasn’t sustainable. As we often say, you can’t really hate your way into sustainable weight loss, but you CAN love yourself there. It was a message that wasn’t ready to be heard at the time, but in this last year we’ve seen the biggest, most beautiful transformation of this woman’s mind and SOUL…and the body has followed. When you’re ready to ditch diet mentality and love yourself into the body and life you want, we invite you to a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started.
The inspiration for this came from a 3 and 6-year-old. We were to host a small, casual gathering and we sought to satisfy everyone without killing ourselves. Aha! A charcuterie board is like fancy buffet but far simpler to build. We used two cutting boards that Mr. Chef made, but you don’t need custom end-grain cutting boards to accomplish this festival of food. The cutting board could come from IKEA, or use serving tray. Have a bit of fun with your imagination and what you already have in your cabinets. Presto!
In hosting, as in life, we prefer balance and elegant simplicity, and fun with perhaps a *sprinkle* of fancy. It’s okay to throw something together and even bring in a bit of whimsy.
So, to keep things classic and chill, the idea of having a variety and simple foods- a smorgasbord- stood out. Call it that, a Hungarian cold plate or “Hidegál”, or, because it sounds so nice to say, charcuterie board (the way we like to remember to pronounce it: “shar(k)-coo-ter-ee”; say it fast enough and the “k” glides you right through the word). Other reasons we love this:
Unstuffy – at its heart, a charcuterie board is very finger-friendly and is even great for kids
Healthy – we went mostly for organic produce & gluten-free items but also had quality meat products for omnivorous types.
Visually appealing – because we all ‘eat’ with our eyes first, we really wanted to provide a cheery, colorful palette of foods from which to choose.
Think about your guests – do they have dietary restrictions or allergies? Food preferences? Will children be present?
Plan your board(s) – think of food groups (healthier versions of fat, protein, carbohydates) and accessories (dips that go well with chips, carrots, and celery for example). This helps provide a balanced and light meal. Bonus: make a ‘rainbow’. Get creative and perhaps offer a fruit and vegetable option for each color – such as orange bell peppers and orange slices.
Go shopping and prep the produce. Here are some items you might want for your custom board(s): vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes), fruits (orange and apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapes – dried fruit is also an option!), cheeses, deli meats (salami, turkey, ham or chicken), crackers and/or bread, dips (hummus, Ranch, herb-infused olive oil), olives, pickles, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), chips, and chocolate.
Decorate your boards! Use little bowls for dips, dishes or plates, cutting boards, and utensils to design a beautiful, curated offering to your guests.
Many of us have felt tied to presence of the little square box in our bathrooms. Whether it’s with a sense of trepidation each morning, or out of habit, we step on and wait for the results. This smug, often shame-inducing bathroom scale seems to revel in a bit of schadenfreude as it spits back a number that we’ll inextricably tie in with our sense of self-worth. And the bad news often colors the rest of our day, and mood, a dark gray.
While we aren’t necessarily proposing that you throw that machine out or smash it à la Office Space, what we *do* suggest is a different ‘scale’ of sorts – one that will serve you now and well into the future. It involves way less shame and is a springboard into knowing yourself better while quite possibly helping you lose a few unwanted pounds.
What is it? The Hunger Scale.
The tool seems simple enough, but don’t let it fool you. Its power lies in helping you answer some rather complex questions about yourself.
A client recently expressed this beautifully when she mentioned, “I feel like I don’t know how to fill this out. Am I the only one who feels out of touch with her body?“
Our answer was, “oh, definitely not. You’re in good company”….because it’s true. Many of us have had similar past experiences when it came to HOW we ate. Why?
Think back to elementary school. You had maybe 30 minutes to process through the line to get your lunch, eat, and talk with your friends before it was recess or back to class. This, of course, continued for many years into higher levels of education.
If you were part of the “clean plate club” at home, you were often eating out of alignment with your true fullness cues.
When it came to work, typically your first job(s) would give you a 15 minute break to maybe shove down some food.
Because of our early experiences in life, all of us have gotten used to driving and eating, eating and working, and eating just because food is around. Rarely do we know what hunger looks like until we are ravenous or light-headed…or what fullness looks like until our pants start biting into our belly skin.
We have lost a connection with our bodies over the years because of all these factors and more. Even if your stomach was growling during an early morning class, you might have told yourself, “shut up body, I can’t eat until lunch.” Perhaps being made to finish your plate involved inner dialogue like, “yeah, I know you’re uncomfortable, body, but you need to make more room and eat this because I don’t want to sit here; I want to go outside and play.”
Understandably, this claim seems a bit brazen, but we truly believe that this Hunger Scale tool is the only ‘scale’ you’ll ever need. When you are attuned to your body’s need for fuel versus its need for comfort, you start being able to differentiate between stress or emotional cues and the body’s refueling requirements.
Since getting in touch with her hunger and satiety cues, one client remarked, “I feel like I used to always be eating. I don’t do that anymore.”
We’re gifting you our Hunger Scale template here, with some parts filled in to assist and guide you.
Every one has different signals of physical (and psychological) hunger, so fill it out according to your own unique patterns. If you’re finding it a bit harder than you thought, you’re not alone and we are here to help.