Monthly Archives: March 2014

Developing a Healthier Relationship with Food

Recently I had the chance to be interviewed by Adam & Devon Bate for a podcast on The Lifestyle Accountability Show. The premise behind their podcast series is to share the stories of people who lead healthy lifestyles to help motivate and inspire others.


As a public relations pro and freelance writer, I am always the one doing the interviewing, so it definitely felt weird being the interviewee. But it was fun to share some of my story and put myself out there in a new way. You can check out the podcast here!

Ever go on a job interview or date or something and think later about what you could have said better? Well I am the queen of doing this!

I feel like during the podcast, a few of their questions put me on the spot, and later I looked back and thought of answers that were not only more interesting, but more significant to my life — and there’s one in particular that I want to chat about.

The question: 

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in health and fitness? 

My new answer: 

I’m proud of how much my relationship with food has improved along my health and wellness journey.

Growing up, I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t the skinny kid either. I remember thinking of food as “good” or “bad” and associating it with feelings of guilt. Some of the women in my family are very small people – 5 feet tall and 100 pounds – and I remember feeling embarrassed about being taller and bigger than them. I went through phases of eating very little, to binge eating, to only allowing myself dessert if I had done 2 hours of cardio that day. Being a girl in a society where weight is emphasized so much in the media and living in a fat-phobic environment can be confusing, especially when you love food.


Early in my adulthood, I realized that I love food, cooking, baking, and being in the kitchen experimenting, and I began to take on a new attitude about it. I came to the realization that food is fuel, that we are what we eat, and that I wanted to feed myself with both delicious and nutritious eats. Having grown up believing that peanut butter tasted great but was too high in fat to eat, I started to embrace foods high in monounsaturated fats like nut butters, olive oil, nuts and avocado, and somewhere along the lines, I began to embrace myself more as a woman in general.

healthy high fat foods

No longer was I plagued by the idea that fat = evil. All in moderation was my new attitude, and that also applied to the not so good for you things I like to enjoy sometimes, like ice cream or a cupcake.

I think that any foodie living a healthy lifestyle can relate to this balancing act. Balance is not a destination; it’s not something we achieve and then just have down to a science. Finding balance
veggies is a constant process of evolving with the current circumstances, of realizing that something that worked before isn’t working now, that experimenting with how we eat or workout or do anything really can be a good thing for us.

And so, I am definitely not saying that I’m perfect, that I have all of the answers when it comes to living
healthily. Sometimes I drink too much wine, eat too many cookies, or ignore my body telling me a rest day is order instead of a hardcore gym session. But what I am saying is that I’ve come a hell of a way in finding that balance.

Has your relationship with food evolved?

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your health journey? 


Mediterranean Goat Cheese Crostini

Hello friends!

Ever have days when you feel like you’re going a mile a minute from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to sleep? That has been me for the past couple of days. At the moment I’m procrastinating packing for my trip to San Diego tomorrow. Packing is the worst but I’m excited for my trip!

In the spirit of hectic days, I thought it’d be fitting to share a recipe I whipped up last week during a busy day. I was starving for dinner and all I felt like eating was the loaf of fresh bread I had picked up at the grocery store earlier. What resulted was an easy appetizer recipe that can also be your meal if you’re like me and love to make appetizers your main dish.

Mediterranean Goat Cheese Crostini


Crostini creations are perfect for get togethers and quick bites. They seem a little fancy but are super easy to make. This recipe took about 15 minutes to put together, and before I knew it my hangriness had subsided and I had a happy belly full of cherry tomatoes, artichoke, goat cheese, and fresh bread toasted with olive oil goodness.


In the spirit of being hungry and trying to get a crostini in my mouth as quick as possible, I now realize that I took exactly zero decent pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it that these are very tasty. Recipe is below!

Mediterranean Goat Cheese Crostini
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • ½ loaf of an 8 oz French baguette, cut into 8 slices
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 oz garlic & herb creamy goat cheese
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil for crostini + 1 TSP for veggies
  • 1 TBSP basil (2 big leaves)
  • ⅛ TSP sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brush the tops of each baguette slice with the olive oil (1 TBSP). Place on a baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, quarter the cherry tomatoes and chop the artichoke hearts and basil. Combine into a bowl. Add sea salt and remaining 1 TSP EVOO, and toss to evenly mix together.
  4. When bread is done, remove from oven and place crostini on a plate. Use a butter knife to spread some goat cheese onto each slice, then top each with a large spoonful of the veggie mixture. Serve them while they're warm!


I can no longer put off packing, so off I go!

Questions: Do you hate packing too? What’s the best crostini combo you’ve ever had?

IIN Chat: What’s a Health Coach?

Happy Wednesday!

I feel like this week is just flying by! I’ve been super busy, and my work week is short because I’m heading down to San Diego on Friday (more on the exciting reason behind my trip to come soon!). Last night my hubby and I had a rare weekday date night. I had gotten him tickets to see Kings of Leon as a Christmas gift, so we headed into San Jose to see them perform. The concert was a lot of fun! 🙂


Moving along to the topic of today’s post, after doing a recap of my first month as a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (a second one to come in the near future!), a couple of people asked me to go more in-depth as to what a health coach is. So let’s get into it!

health coach

At IIN, health coaches are believed to be the future of our healthcare system. At the school, students like myself learn about what IIN refers to as post-modern nutrition — that is, recognizing that one diet does not fit all and looking at factors in bio-individuality, such as age and ancestry, to understand how they play a role in diet. We learn not only about a ton of different diets and schools of thought when it comes to food, but the curriculum also focuses on coaching tools and mentoring skills. Why? Because a health coach combines all of this knowledge together to help people develop healthier and happier lives.


A health coach offers guidance and inspiration to help clients shift their behavior to healthier habits by making step-by-step changes to their diet and lifestyle. A school of thought at IIN is
recognizing that the food on our plates is only a small part of what feeds us. We call the different aspects of life that nurture us “primary food” (think of important parts of life like relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality). Health coaching clients will learn about this concept and how it relates to their life. As a result, clients develop a deeper understanding of the foods and lifestyle choices that work best for them. Health coaches help them to implement lasting changes
IIN plate that improve their energy, balance and health.

IIN believes that health coaches are needed to fill the gap between medical professionals and preventative healthcare. The goal in health coaching isn’t to replace a doctor, nutritionist, or any other healthcare professionals; it’s meant to serve as a complement to existing healthcare providers.

Think about what typically happens when you go to the doctor. How much time does the doctor actually spend with you? Do they thoroughly look at the factors that could play into your current issue? Mine certainly do not. In our current healthcare system, almost no time is spent discussing daily diet and lifestyle. Look at it like veggiesthis: If you go to the doc for a cold, they’ll probably spend a moment determining if it’s just a head cold, then rush you out the door with some kind of meds and the recommendation of some R&R. In contrast, if you go to a health coach and one of your health concerns is that you’re constantly getting head colds, they’ll look at factors like diet and stress to determine how you can help to build up your immune system and prevent yourself from getting the sniffles so much.

Health coaching takes on a holistic approach, always looking at the bigger picture. They serve as a guide and mentor who empowers clients to take responsibility for their own health, and supports them on their journey to achieve their personal wellness goals.

A lot of the time, health coaches build their own practice, but they could also work in places like spas, gyms, yoga studios and doctor’s offices. Once I complete my program at IIN, I plan to begin taking on clients on my own. Pursuing my passion in healthy living feels great, and I’m excited to see where it leads me!

Please don’t hesitate to email me at nicole[at] if you’re interested in learning more about IIN as a potential student, or if you’d like to find out more about my health coaching service. I won’t begin taking on any clients until later this year, but I’d love to chat!

Tell me…

Do you have any other questions about what a health coach does? 

What was the last concert you went to? 

Meatless Monday Recipe Idea: Black Bean Veggie Tacos with Cashew Cream [Gluten Free]

Hi friends!

Another weekend has flown by, and it was a good one for me. I kicked off my weekend with a much needed massage at the student massage school near me, San Jose National Holistic Institute. The students perform whatever massage they’ve been working on in school, and this time it was a Swedish massage. The masseuse did a good job of working on all of my achy muscles for an hour — for $20. Needless to say, it was awesome!

Afterwards I headed over to the mall to spoil myself a little, and I picked up a new Athleta workout top and some beauty loot from LUSH and Benefit Cosmetics. I’m kind of in love with LUSH. I spent some time in there playing around with things and wound up nabbing a facial cleanser and seaweed mask that I tested out and loved this weekend. I don’t go shopping often, so it was a treat!

shopping loot

Other highlights of my weekend included a mountain biking trip with gorgeous, peaceful scenery of rolling green hills…

biking trip-2


biking trip-1

…long walks with happy puppies…

Harley in car

…and bright & beautiful meals like this one:

fennel salad

Fennel & arugula salad with dried cherries, honey roasted almonds and an EVOO + honey + white balsamic + sea salt dressing

It always seems like the weekends always zip by and Mondays are here before we know it right? And speaking of Mondays, today I’ve got a Meatless Monday recipe to share with you.


One concern I hear often with people who want to make more meatless meals or go vegetarian is that they just aren’t sure what to make. For me, some dinners are planned out ahead of time when I go grocery shopping, others are decided the morning of, and some are figured out as I’m staring at my fridge, hungry and ready for dinner about 15 minutes prior. 


Sometimes I like to just get creative with whatever’s in my cabinets and fridge. These kinds of meals can be the best kind of surprises. Last week, this recipe came together in 20 minutes flat.


These tacos are easy to substitute different ingredients to suit your liking. It can be made vegan if you leave out the cheese, and you can skip the cashew cream and use regular sour cream or plain yogurt if you prefer.


I ate one taco vegan-style, and one with shredded cheese. Both were yummy!


Black Bean Veggie Tacos with Cashew Cream [Gluten Free]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP green onion
  • ¼ white onion
  • 2 TBSP cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 vine ripe tomato
  • 8 small gluten free corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese, optional
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • Juice from ½ small lemon
  • 6 TBSP water
  • 1 TSP salt
  • ½ TSP chili pepper
  • ¼ TSP black pepper
  1. Mince white onion. Warm olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté onion until lightly browned.
  2. Dice red pepper, zucchini, cilantro and green onion. Add to the skillet, and cook for 7 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  3. Dice tomato and avocado.
  4. Add black beans into the pan. Season with ½ TSP salt, chili pepper and black pepper. Stir until everything's well combined and the beans are warm. Remove from heat and add tomato and avocado into the veggie mixture.
  5. To make the cashew cream: Combine the raw cashews, remaining ½ TSP salt, lemon juice and water into a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. You may want to add in more water to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Spoon veggies onto corn tortillas. Top with cashew cream and cheese, if using. Enjoy while they're warm!


Question: What was the last meatless dinner you made? 

Getting an Education in CrossFit Culture

Recently I had a freelance writing assignment centered around CrossFit, so I ventured around to different gyms in my area to interview owners and members and get a better grasp of what it’s all about.

Though I’ve never tried it, I have a couple of friends who are avid CrossFitters and I’ve watched the CrossFit Games on TV before, so I had a general idea of what the fitness regimen entails. However, doing research for the article really gave me a much more detailed look at what it’s all about and why people are crazy about the so called “sport of fitness.”



I learned that conventional CrossFit wisdom says to forget about the aesthetics, to focus more on what you can do versus what you want your body to look like. Essentially, it values athleticism over superficial concepts of beauty. The idea is that when you work on becoming stronger, faster, and overall more fit by doing CrossFit, the toned bod is a result of that work, but shouldn’t be the main motivation for people.

One of the owners I spoke with was stressing this idea to me during our discussion, and he was saying things like:

“Are you able to have a functional life? Will you be able to pick up your grandkids when you’re 80?”

“A lot of people, women especially, have body image issues… and it’s like, fuck that. We’re goal driven here, it’s not about if you look perfect in a bikini.

This gym owner’s name is Wes Piatt, and he’s pretty awesome at CrossFit. He made it to the Games last year and competed with the other top CrossFit athletes in the world. His story of making it there is pretty neat, and you can check out a video about it here. But I digress.

Wes Piatt

Wes Piatt


When I left his gym, I was feeling inspired by this mentality, but later on after a hard workout, I got to thinking about how I really felt about this concept. Would I exercise this hard and this much if it weren’t for the aesthetics? 

The short answer: no. Not to sound totally superficial, but part of the reason why I workout is because I want to look good. Other motivations for me are my overall health and wellness, enjoying how I feel afterwards, and challenging myself, but no, I definitely don’t forget about the bikini bod when I’m sweating my butt off working out.

On one hand, I like the overall message of this mentality. I agree that our society is obsessed with having the perfect body and many go to extreme, unhealthy measures trying to get there, when many of us would be much happier with just accepting our body types and flaws and working on our overall health through fitness. But on the other hand, people want to look their best, right? Is it wrong to make this an emphasis in a fitness regime?




Naturally, I became all analytical about this topic, and a few days later, I met another CrossFit owner who mirrored my thoughts more. Kind of going against the grain in CrossFit, he recognized that people want to look good and that this may be the main motivator in making exercise a routine thing in a lot of lives. What really resonated with me was him saying, “It’s about how well you move, how you feel, and how you look.” 

Another thing he stressed that stuck out in mind was this phrase: “We get fit, and we get fat.”

He was talking about how sometimes other priorities take over in life, that sometimes we may gain a few pounds of fat and be discouraged by it, or perhaps be too busy to care too much. Either way, it’s not the end of the world. We can gain fat, just like we can lose fat. As he said, it’s about feeling good and looking good, whatever that means for you.

Personally, though I’d love to say that aesthetics fall to the wayside in my life and I workout mostly to be stronger and faster, I have to say that I agree more with the latter owner’s perceptions. I workout to move well, feel good, and yes, to look good.

I want to hear from you guys on this! How do you feel about the CrossFit mentality on aesthetics? What are your primary workout motivators? Do you do CrossFit? 

Meatout: Eat Vegan For a Day

Hi friends!

I first heard about Meatout last night via Twitter when I was in a state of exhaustion, so I’m way late on posting info about this… but better late than never to help spread the word right?

So just what is Meatout? 

Meatout is a day of international observance with a purpose of exposing the public to the joys and benefits of a plant-based diet, while promoting the availability and selection alternatives to meat and dairy in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants and catering operations. Meatout has been observed every year since 1985 and has become the world’s largest annual grassroots diet education campaign.

Meatout is a movement led by Farm Animals Rights Movement (FARM), with a goal of getting 25,000 people to participate in the pledge. Partipants pledge to eat vegan on March 20, the first day of spring (today!), to explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, veggies and whole grains.


You can find out more about Meatout here.

I try never to get all preachy on here, and at the end of the day, diet is a personal preference. I realize that I’m in the minority as a vegetarian, as I believe somewhere around 95% of Americans eat meat. But going vegan or vegetarian for a day, week, or month, can really open up your food horizons and help you to adopt a healthier lifestyle.


I think the only foods we should be relying on at every meal are veggies and fruits. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone to someone’s house and they have nothing meat-free to eat. I find it to be so crazy and indicative of how reliant on meat our society is. Eating meat is a personal choice (though I could certainly argue its negative effects on the body), but eating it at every meal is just not healthy (ahem, the Paleo craze!). America is eating pieces of large animals at every meal, then we wonder why we have digestion issues, weight issues and prevalence of disease. We’re eating too much meat, too much processed crap, and too much in general.

I’ve pledged to cut out dairy today to go vegan for Meatout, and I invite you to try to eat vegan for just one day, meatless for one week, or even just to decrease the amount of meat products you’re eating and to increase the amount of whole foods you’re putting into your body. It’s better for our health and the planet, and there are so many more options out there than meat-eaters tend to think. My favorite go-to recipe source is Vegetarian Times, or check out my recipe page for inspiration!

Had you ever heard of Meatout before?  

Share your thoughts on the movement!

Fit Tip Tuesday: The Tush Toner Workout

Fit Tip Tuesday is back this week on Foodie Loves Fitness! Thanks to the lovely Lisa at The Skinny on Health for hosting this party, where us healthy living bloggers “get together” to discuss our tips for a fit life.
Fit Tip Tuesday Button

I realized that I haven’t posted a workout lately, so I thought that this Fit Tip Tuesday was the perfect opportunity to share one. I created this circuit workout in a cardio-muscle strengthening-abdominal toning format. It’s geared specifically to the booty and legs, with some ab moves and arm toning exercises incorporated as well. The gist of it:

  • The workout consists of 4 circuit rounds.
  • I biked for my cardio, but you can really do any form of cardio that you like for each round.
  • During the cardio portions, I target my heart rate between 140-160.
  • Besides the bike/other cardio machine, you’ll need 15 lb. dumbbells (you can use heavier/lighter weights to adjust to your ability) and a stability ball.

Tush Toner

With a short warm up and stretching cool down, this workout took me about 50 minutes, and I burned about 450 calories.

Here are some explanations of moves included:

Question: What’s your favorite leg/booty exercise? 

Lately I’ve been loving working out my legs, and I tend to do a ton of squat moves!

Banana Berry Yogurt Matcha Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Though I didn’t go to any St. Paddy’s Day parades this year, the Irish in me wanted to add a little green into my afternoon in honor of the holiday.


Matcha Smoothie-4

A few days ago, Kiss Me Organics sent me some of their matcha green tea powder to try out. Some stats on matcha:

  • It’s the highest quality powdered green tea out there and is considered a powerful superfood.
  • It’s been a Japanese cultural norm since the 12th century.
  • It’s an antioxidant powerhouse. In fact, my package notes that matcha has 137x the antioxidants of brewed green tea — whoa right!
  • Made of chlorophyll-rich tea leaves, matcha is ground into a fine powder using the entire leaf.
  • Its natural properties are thought to cause an increase in energy and physical endurance, as well as a metabolism boost.

I’ll talk more about Kiss Me Organics Matcha later on after I get to use it a lot, but for now, I’ll share my first recipe using it:

Matcha Smoothie-3

5.0 from 1 reviews
Banana Berry Yogurt Matcha Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¾ cup mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries & blackberries)
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • ½ TSP matcha
  • Ice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 390, Fat: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 70 g, Sugar: 53 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 22 g, Cholesterol: 10 mg

Matcha Smoothie-5

Tell me, have you ever tried matcha? 

Weekend Recap: A Beautiful Day in Monterey

Hi friends!

I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. My hubby’s grandparents were in town staying with us. We had a great time together, so I thought I’d share a weekend recap.


My weekend kicked off with a Friday afternoon hike with my pup. The weather on Friday and all weekend was just about perfect, so an outdoor workout was an awesome way to start my weekend.


Harley hates looking at the camera but I tortured her by taking a few photos.



On Saturday we had lunch at a local winery, then went to the creepiest house in Silicon Valley, the Winchester Mystery House. We had never been there before, so it was a good place to see with company in town.


What makes the 160-room mansion interesting is the fact that its owner, a heiress named Sarah Winchester, continuously was building it 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for nearly 40 years. She did this because she thought it would “confuse the evil spirits” of people shot and killed by the weapons made by her dead husband’s firearms company. The house is funny because it has all these weird features, like stairs that lead to nowhere and false doors. Sarah seemed like quite a nut, but it was a neat tour to do in San Jose.

On Sunday afternoon we headed over to Monterey to soak up the sun along the water…


….and watch some sea lions hang out and be their usual interesting selves. I always find them to be so entertaining! Monterey-6


I love their faces and just have the urge to pet them…though I’m not sure how they’d like that. In any event I enjoy watching the sea lions bask in the sun.



We spent the afternoon walking around, eating lunch on the pier, and enjoying the pretty scenery. My hubby and I hadn’t been to Monterey in awhile, and it definitely a great day weather-wise to be there.




Some at-home eats that I made for our guests included chocolate peanut butter cups {<– throwback post!}…

choc pb cups

…freshly squeezed orange & mandarin juice and roasted red pepper hummus {another recipe circa a 2012 blog post}…

red pepper hummus

…{another batch of} cinnamon raisin granolagranola

…and homemade pizza night. I made two whole wheat pizzas, one margherita pie + one with asparagus, mozzarella and ricotta.

Another food highlight was a stop at Pinkberry, where I got salted caramel yogurt with chocolate chips & strawberries. Pinkberry

Everything was delicious but I am SO looking forward to eating clean this week. I’ve been on a sugar kick lately and I need to get it under control. More on that later this week!

Anyways, those were the fun highlights of my weekend!

Up until this point, I really have only gotten to see Adam’s grandparents for a couple of holidays and meals. It was nice to have them here to spend some time together, get to know them better, and show them where we live. The two of them have been happily married for 55 years, and when I asked what the secret of their successful relationship is, they said to be each other’s best friend.


I hope that one day I have grandkids that look up to the marriage I have with my hubby. 🙂

Ever been to Monterey? Have you heard of the Winchester Mystery House?

My Gluten Free Experiment Ends + Favorite GF Finds

My friends, check out my dinner a few nights ago:


Regular fettuccine pasta in a lightened up cream sauce with spinach and tomatoes. Why? Because my experiment with eating gluten free is officially over!

I talked about it in length here, but to make a long story short, I decided to give up gluten for a solid month (it wound up being an almost 6 week stint) to determine if I had a sensitivity to it. I suffer from allergies, which cause sinus aches and skin issues, and was curious to find out if gluten could be the culprit. The short answer: It’s not!

Aside from 2 minor mishaps – eating a cookie around day 7 before it even dawned on me that it most likely had gluten in it, and caving in and eating a piece of warm bread at an Italian restaurant in Lake Tahoe – I was completely diligent with keeping a gluten free diet. I’ve heard all sorts of benefits that people reap from losing the gluten in their diet, from better digestion and more energy to unintentional weight loss and a reduction in psoriasis, which I mildly suffer from…. but I experienced absolutely none of that. I felt pretty much the same, which is great in general besides my annoying allergies. I kept up the gluten free diet for a bit over the month-long point just to be sure, but I think it’s safe to say, I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten.


Coincidentally, my father-in-law decided to try being gluten free around the same time as me, and he has experienced lots of positive results. Every person is different and reacts to different foods and diets in their own individual way, and as it turns out, gluten is a-okay with me. I definitely feel like this experiment has helped me learn more about gluten and all of the foods that contain it. While I’m going to be eating gluten again, I’m now more conscious of how much of it I’m eating. I don’t think that too much of anything is good, plus gluten’s effects on the body are controversial, so I’m reintroducing it into my diet only moderately. I can live easily without eating gluten daily, but I do think I’ll enjoy some gluten-filled food a few times a week.

Part of me is disappointed and would like to have found a solution to my skin and allergy issues, but part of me is relieved too. Because I have to tell you guys, oh how I missed bread.

fresh bread

I know I know, there’s gluten free bread around, and I’ll get to my favorite one that I tried in a moment, but it’s just not the same to me. I guess the gluten is what gives it that “yum” factor! 😉 If I had to continue eating gluten free, I think I’d wind up losing my love for the occasional PB & banana sandwiches or grilled cheese.

Wanting to find some gluten free substitutes during these weeks, I tried a good number of GF foods. I thought I’d share my favorite ones, so here we go:

I liked a few of Van’s Natural Foods products in their gluten free line, including their Lots of Everything! crackers:

Vans Crackers

I loved these with some hummus and will probably continuing buying them.

I’m also a fan of their apple cinnamon waffles:

Vans waffles-2

A couple of times I ate a few waffles for breakfast and topped them with things likes chopped apple, granola, honey, cinnamon, banana… ya know, all of my usual favorite kitchen staples!

Vans waffles-1

…which leads me to KIND Healthy Grains Clusters:

KIND cinnamon clusters

As I mentioned in my last post about granola, these KIND cluster products are addicting! My favorite flavors are peanut butter and cinnamon oat with flax seeds. The clusters are made with 100% whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat. My favorite way to eat KIND clusters is to sprinkle some over yogurt with fruit. Yum!

Barbara’s Puffins Cereal:


Cereal is my go-to snack to eat a few handfuls of when I come home from the gym starving and am waiting for my dinner to cook, so when I started my gluten free experiment, I knew I needed to find a good cereal substitute. I found that in Barbara’s Puffins cereals. I also ate a bowl of the cereal with blueberries or banana for breakfast a few times.


Med. Pasta-4

I mentioned this last week when I posted a recipe for Mediterranean Pasta with Lemon Ricotta, but Tinkyada and TruRoots brands were my favorite of the GF pastas that I had. A few of the pastas I tried had a weird texture or tasted too much like corn, but I’d definitely recommend these two brands. TruRoots makes their pasta with brown rice, quinoa and amaranth. Tinkyada is made from brown rice.



A lot of the gluten free breads seem to be either in the frozen food section or hard as a rock, so coming across Canyon Bakehouse 7-grain bread at Whole Foods was a good find. It was the best bread substitute I tried by a long shot!

Do you have a favorite specialty gluten free food?

If you’re not gluten free, what would you miss the most if you nixed the gluten?