The Nourishing Health » Whole, nourishing, plant-based health and nutrition

Traveling can be a ton of fun or really stressful.  It can also leave us feeling a bit off kilter due to different sleep schedules, getting away from our typical eating patterns, and being exposed to different environments.  When I travel eating healthfully remains a part of my life, not because I feel I have to but because I truly want to.  I love what I eat and my body and mind feel the best when I’m nourishing my body…even on vacation.  :)

Check out a few of my tips for remaining nourished in order to enjoy your travels to the fullest and to return home feeling refreshed!

These recipes can easily be made several weeks prior to your travels and stored in the freezer to avoid pre-trip craziness.


We love finding a few places to explore for breakfast while away, but we often start the day with a quick meal in our hotel before going out to explore and the leave the adventurous eats for lunch and dinner.  When I travel I always pack supplies for a few simple breakfasts.

  • Overnight Oats 
    • If traveling by car I bring my dry ingredients in containers so I can mix up my breakfast in the container.  If flying, I bring several overnight oat packs in plastic bags and bring 2 containers for us to reuse.
    • Dry ingredients include 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 TBSP chia seeds, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.  When we reach our destination I purchase fruit and almond milk and mix up all sorts of creations.  Add raisins, coconut flakes, or nuts and seeds to your baggies for some fun texture!
  • Granola




If our destination has a grocery store like Whole Foods I often bring a few simple snacks for the flight and purchase snacks when I arrive (while I’m purchasing my materials for breakfast).  This helps me keep my luggage a bit lighter and less complicated (which my husband always appreciates. 😉 )

  • Fruit – Bananas, apples, and a bag of grapes travel well.
  • Nuts & Date balls – my favorites include Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites and No-Bake Mint Chocolate Protein Bars (which I roll into balls).
  • Trail mix
  • LaraBars – Similar ingredients to nut and date balls but without the work!  I love these granola bars because they contain only whole foods.  For example, one of my favorite bars is Cherry Pie, which contains dates, almonds and cherries.

**A note on snacks:  Be cautious of mindless eating during travel.  It’s so easy to munch, munch, munch out of boredom.  I pack my snacks in the overhead compartment during flights or in the trunk of the car when we’re on the road.  This allows me to mindfully select something I desire when we have a break and direct my boredom toward a good book.


Finding health conscious restaurants while traveling can be a challenge.  Happy Cow simplifies the process by allowing you to search for restaurants that are vegan, vegetarian, or veg-friendly based on your location.  Download their app and be ready to find creative and plant-focused restaurants in a minutes notice!

Other Health Savers

It’s hard to go to the bathroom while on the road.  Different schedules and different settings can lead to some rather uncomfortable constipation.  I always travel with Psyllium husk (pictured right) and a few bags of  Smooth Move.  Mix  2 teaspoons of psyllium husk with a large glass of water and consume before bed.  This will help your morning bowel movement arrive with ease.  In more “severe” cases I reach for Smooth Move.  Drink 1 cup of this tea before bed and things will be moving much smoother the next day.  Psyllium husk powder can be used in a lot of baking recipes and is less potent than the Smooth Move tea, which is why I always reach for this first.


My Berkey water bottle goes everywhere with me.  The filter is designed to remove or dramatically reduce toxic chemicals, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, trihalomethanes, detergents, pesticides, herbicides, chlorides, pharmaceuticals, petroleum-based products,  unpleasant tastes and odor, silt, sediment and chlorine (as noted on their website).  It is the only filtration system I’ve found that removes chlorine from water.  Maybe they’ll be coming out with some trendy designs soon.  😉

I hope this allows for your next trip to be easier and provide you with increased energy to enjoy the journey!

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We all know salads are healthy for us (unless we load them with Ranch dressing and fried toppings, which I once did) but like anything you can sometimes find yourself in a big rut.

I eat a lot of salads and rarely find myself getting bored when I do two things:

  1. Prep interesting ingredients on the weekend in order to toss together an easy, yet fun bowl in just minutes.
  2. Have combinations in mind to keep things fresh.

Today I have some of my favorites to pull you up from that rut.

Prep Ahead

  • Roast a big tray of vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, Brussel sprouts, onions.
  • Bake a sweet potato for cubes in your salad.
  • Bake marinated tempeh while you’re at it!
  • Cook quinoa.
  • Dice your veggies to make them accessible – cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, celery.
  • Pull frozen items out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge –  shelled edamame, green peas, artichoke hearts.
  • Fruit!  Always a fun addition to a light & fresh salad. – Grapefruit, grapes, apple chunks, strawberries.
  • Blend up a dip.  A few of my favorites are Edamame Hummus, Walnut Lentil Pate, & Buffalo Hummus.

I always prep one or several of these items on the weekend.  You can bake the vegetables, sweet potato, and tempeh at the same time.  Then put quinoa on the stove or in a rice cooker (it only takes 15 minutes).  Cut up veggies and pull items out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge while those items are baking and cooking.  There you have it!  A week of creative, nourishing meals and only one mess to clean up!  :)

Creative Creations

1.  This salad came together in just minutes with ingredients I had prepared in advance.  Shredded purple cabbage, sliced cucumbers, black rice, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, Parsley & Pumpkin Seed Chimichurri Sauce (minus the oil), and Superfood bread.


2. I like dressing.  Can you tell?  😉  Anti-inflammatory Tumeric Tahini Dressing topped on a bed of greens, diced sweet potato, leftover roasted squash & portobello mushrooms & roasted corn from the freezer.


3.  In the warmer months I typically enjoy my lunch sitting on my back steps.  I just love the fresh air and fresh flavors!  Greens toped with tomatoes, quinoa, artichoke hearts from the freezer, a big dollop of hummus & my favorite Mary’s Gone Crackers.


4.  Greens, a variety of herbs, sprouts, heirloom tomatoes, ground flaxseed, refried beans, and Mary’s Gone Crackers made this lunch oh-so-tasty!


5.  If you’re looking for a fun salad that will satisfy for dinner you won’t be disappointed by this BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing.  Plus, it makes great leftovers!:) (Note:  I use half the BBQ sauce.)


6.  Another great dinner-time salad with romaine lettuce, farro, baked tempeh, edamame, sunflower seeds, grapefruit, and No-Honey Mustard Dressing (#6 in this post).


7.  A big Mexican style salad is always satisfying.  Black beans stewed with hot sauce, cumin, and chili powder, diced red and green bell pepper, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, roasted corn, and a creamy avocado dressing.  I often use salsa and diced avocado in place of the avocado dressing.  In the summer I always roast corn when we have the grill fired up, but in the winter I rely on Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn, which is almost as equally delicious.:)


There you have it!  Seven new salad ideas and ways to prep ahead for plant-strong, stress-free meals .  Enjoy!

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I hate to say it, but February is one of my least favorite months.  The holidays are over and so is my birthday, meaning this is the last month of cold without any festivities and I therefore begin counting down the days until lovely Spring weather makes its way to us.  In recent years I began making lists of enjoyable things I can only do when its cold in order to help me appreciate the unique aspects of each season more (it’s a little silly, I know, but I’m a total warm weather and outdoor loving girl!).  My lists typically contain the same items each year:

  • Drinking hot tea with my favorite dark chocolate (Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate, in case you were wondering 😉 )
  • Curling up with a good book
  • Watching movies while snuggled up with my husband (and by movies I mean Downtown Abbey 😉 )
  • Big bowls of warm oatmeal

Maybe next year I’ll get beyond 4 items and be more creative.:)


As you can see I didn’t stick with my warm oatmeal this month but rather started sampling my favorite warm weather breakfasts again.  In her Green Monster Overnight Oats Angela Liddon combined her love for her Green Monster smoothies with the ease of overnight oats and created one hearty and nutritious morning dish!  I often stir in spirulina powder and top it with bee pollen for extra nutritional punch!



Minimalist Baker’s 7 Layer Mexican Dip stole show for this year’s Super Bowl.  Incredible.  I crave it the minute it crosses my mind.:)


Main Dishes

The Best Lentil Sloppy Joe’s from McKel Hill were simple, satisfying, and perfect to freeze for leftovers!

Natalie Archer has created the most flavorful and satisfying Quinoa Crunch Salad.  Perfect for a grab and go lunch!



I had been craving raspberries for a few days when Dreena Burton posted her recipe for Fresh Raspberry Pudding and let me tell you, did this ever hit the spot!  I tried it without the maple syrup and it was perfectly sweet for my tastebuds.


Have you cooked or created a great recipe recently that you’d like me to share?  I love trying new recipes, so please send your favorite plant-powered to for a chance to be featured in the months to come!

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Last week I opened the window on our microbiome; discussing what exactly a microbiome is and what promotes and hinders it.  Over the next few months I’m going to speak on each of the following topics that impact our microbial health and therefore all aspects of our health.

  • Microbial health from the beginning – How our health is impacted from conception, including vaginal birth versus cesarian sections and the benefits of breastfeeding.
  • Medication use versus natural remedies
  • Stress
  • Chemicals & toxins – personal hygiene and household products & chemicals.

Let’s start at the very beginning, our entry into this world.


Before we took our first breath our health was being determined by our mother’s health and habits.  Dr. Chutkan explains that “one of the most dramatic changes happens in her vagina.  During pregnancy, cells in the vaginal lining ramp up production of a carbohydrate called glycogen, sending glycogen-loving Lactobacillus bacteria into a feeding frenzy and increasing their numbers.  Lactobacilli convert lactose and other sugars to lactic acid, creating an acidic, unfriendly environment that helps to protect the growing fetus from foreign invaders.”  [1]  But this bacteria doesn’t only protect the fetus, but also nourishes it.

A fetus is entirely dependent upon its mother for nourishment, therefore what she eats the baby eats and her habits are reflected in this little one.  In addition to this beginning species of bacteria that we receive from our mother, we also receive protective antibodies from her via the placenta.

Pregnant woman stylized silhouette, mother care icon. Vector illPINIMAGE

The Glorious Entry

A baby’s skin is like a sponge, taking up vaginal microbes it comes into contact with.  During a normal delivery baby’s face comes in direct contact with its mothers vaginal and rectal bacteria, providing it with a good inoculation.  Exposure to this bacteria is a critical step in the development of our immune systems.  This important step is bypassed with a cesarian section delivery and studies show higher incidences of asthma, allergies, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and other autoimmune conditions with these deliveries.  [1]

If a C-section is your only option, there are ways to restore your babies microbial health.  A small study published in Nature Medicine shows that using a gauze pad soaked with microbes from the mother’s birth canal “can partially restore and normalize the microbial assembly that takes place naturally in babies”.  [2]  While research is ongoing, the first studies have shown that the mouth, gut and skin microbes of the C-section babies who were slathered looked much more similar to those of babies delivered vaginally than those who weren’t swabbed in their first month of life.  If you are considering this option its important to share this with your physician in order to include it as part of your birth plan.

If you’ve already delivered your baby via C-section there are certainly ways to increase his or her microbial and long-term health with intentional work, one of which is breast-feeding.  Other ways to increase microbial diversity include: letting your child get dirty (everything they put in their mouths can benefits them), nutrition (whole, unprocessed foods), and infant probiotics to name a few.


After birth a baby reaches its lactobacilli filled mouth toward the mother’s breast and begins to nurse, which introduces this important bacteria into the babies digestive system.  Baby’s first milk contains colostrum, which has protective antibodies.  Days later breast milk contains carbohydrates called oligosaccharides, which are undigestible, but are eaten and used as an energy source by important bacteria within the infant.  These first microbes colonize the newborn and set the stage for the health of their microbiome into adulthood.  [3]  Our microbiome is almost fully formed by three years of age so the beginning years are a beautiful time to be cultivating a healthy future for your baby!

  • If you are struggling with breast-feeding your little one, don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance from a trained lactation consultant in your area.  Her knowledge and expertise will benefit you and your baby in the long-run!  Another great resource is The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers recommended by my doula.
  • If you’re struggling to produce sufficient milk supplies, check your area for a breast milk bank where you can receive donated breast milk from mothers in your area.  This is also a great option for mothers who have adopted and don’t have the option of providing their own breast milk to their baby.

Isn’t the human body amazing?!  Whenever I study any topic of health I’m always amazed at how intricately designed our bodies are and all they are capable of!


[1]  Chutkan, M.D., Robynne.  The Microbiome Solution:  A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.  New York, NY: Avery, 2015.

[2] Stein, Rob.  NPR.  February 1, 2016.  Researchers Test Microbe Wipe To Promote Babies’ Health After C-Sections.  Retrieved from

[3] Blasner,M.D., Martin J.  Missing Microbes.  New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2014.

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