Let's talk through the story of my favorite lentil soup. Years ago, two of my neighbors hosted a soup party. It was an inspiring affair – big pots of simmering soups and stews, house full of chatty, friendly people. Part of what I liked was the simple premise. The hosts (David & Holly) made a number of soups, guests were asked to arrive with their drink of choice and one thing to share – salad, appetizer, or something sweet.
Coconut Red Lentil Soup

The Best Soup:

One of the vegetarian soups was a beautiful shade of yellow-orange. It was a light-bodied, curry-spiced coconut broth thickened with cooked red lentils and structured with yellow split peas. It appeared to be a beautiful take on lentil soup. When I asked Holly to tell me about it, she mentioned it was based on an Ayurvedic dal recipe in the Esalen Cookbook, a favorite of hers.

She happened to have an extra copy of the Esalen book, and sent me home with my belly full, a new cookbook tucked under my arm, and a few suggestions related to the soup. I still make this soup regularly, love it (so much!), and thought it might be fun to revisit it today in video form – enjoy! I've also included some notes related to adapting this soup to the Instant Pot.


Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Other things worth noting related to this soup – the slivered green onions sauteed in butter or coconut oil. The golden raisins that plump up with curry broth. Back notes of ginger. Depth from a good dollop of tomato paste. It all comes together in one amazing bowl of restorative, lentil soup goodness.

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Wayne and I share in the prep work for dinner most nights. Two or three times a week this involves chopping cauliflower into “tiny trees”. Wayne knows the drill, and does a good job cutting the florets into pieces not much larger than a table grape. We then turn the cauliflower into a hot skillet with a bit of salt, olive oil, and whatever spices and seasoning strike our fancy that night.
Simple Cauliflower RecipeCauliflower is endlessly adaptable, and cooking it this way is quick and delicious. After just a few minutes in the pan the cauliflower starts to brown, and then takes on a deep, nutty flavor. I'll share the version we made the other night – pan-fried cauliflower with garlic, chives, lemon, Parmesan, and flaky sea salt. This handful of ingredients is what hit the pan this time around, but I'll also list off a few other variations that make frequent appearances in case chives and lemon aren't your thing.

Simple Cauliflower Variations

Spicy: This is the easiest – olive oil, a bit of Piment d'Esplette, garlic, and lemon zest at the end. Use your favorite red pepper flakes.

Curry: I sometimes use coconut oil here in place of olive oil. Then I add a favorite Indian curry powder, and go from there. Or I'll take it in an entirely different direction and add a teaspoon (or so) of Thai red curry paste to the coconut oil.

Nutmeg: I use 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 butter, then the cauliflower, and some freshly grated nutmeg toward the end.

Serving Ideas

A couple serving ideas: It might sound a bit weird, but I like to eat this style of cauliflower over an open-faced egg salad sandwich for lunch. Or, I might build a meal off the cauliflower by throwing a bit of tofu or seitan in the pan. It's also great on top of a curry bowl, or bowl of chili.

Anyhow, people who don't typically like cauliflower seem to like it cooked this way. But be sure to seek out good, fresh cauliflower with tight florets, no discoloration. If there are leaves they should be bright and intact, not withered and funky.

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I'm hoping a good number of you will give this mushroom salad a go. I'm pretty sure you'll love it! This is a solid example of my favorite kind of recipe – quick, flavor forward, and endlessly adaptable. Are you a fan of mushrooms? Then this recipe is especially for you. Here's how it goes. You sauté thinly sliced mushrooms in a splash of olive oil and cook them until they're super golden and beautiful. Then you toss them in a bowl with fresh herbs, peanuts, freshly chopped herbs, serrano chile, a good amount of lime juice, and soy sauce. Done.
 Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

What kind of mushrooms?

This is a mixed mushroom salad (as pictured). I used cremini, king trumpet, and enoki mushrooms. That said, you can certainly make it with a single type of thinly sliced mushrooms. When you are preparing them just be sure to slice them consistent thickness – roughly 1/4-inch. These is a shot of the mushrooms pre-cooking (below). Followed by a photo of the color I like them to have when done cooking.

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

Variations on this Mushroom Salad

  • Mushroom Salad with Tofu (as pictured): For more of a one-dish meal, I like to add a bit of crumbled tofu, or steamed tempeh.
  • Mushroom Salad over Rice: This is delicious over just about any type of rice you like. A simple bowl of brown jasmine, mixed rice & grains, or even congee!
  • Mushroom Salad over Noodles: Lots of things are great with noodles, and this is no exception! You can toss it rice or soba noodles along with the rest of the ingredients. Just bump up the amount of lime juice and soy sauce, so you have enough dressing. 

    Quick Lime and Mushroom Salad

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Hi friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re having an amazing week so far. Thank you SO much for all of your incredible enthusiasm with the Fit Guides. Don’t forget to sign up before the price jumps on Friday! We’re starting the plans next Monday. <3

I didn’t get the chance to get a post ready for yesterday since Fit Guide stuff was so exciting/busy/crazy in the best way, but I’m back with a brand-new podcast episode for you! I’m so thankful for the incredible blessings this little blog has brought me, and my #1 favorite thing is the ability to connect with women all over the world + the lifelong friends this little blog has brought me. Brittany and I started blogging around the same time and she’s become a real-life friend after the blog world introduced us to each other.

I feel like Brittany is such a perfect example of Healthy In Real Life. You can tell she takes great care of herself – her hair and skin are always glowing – and she lives a balanced, sustainable lifestyle. She enjoys her life with desserts and the fun stuff, but also makes the most gorgeous salads you’ll ever see. She works out but also stresses the importance of rest and self care. She inspires and motivates her audience to love their bodies, which gets cheers from me all the livelong day. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Brittany a handful of times and she’s just as fun and genuine as you’d expect from reading her blog.

In this episode, we’re chatting about all the good stuff:

– How Eating Bird Food got started and when she felt like she could quit her 9-5 to pursue the blog full-time

– The biggest changes she’s seen since the OG blogging days


– Tips for Instagram, especially increasing followers and engagament

– Favorite blogging tools and tips

– The health struggles she’s experienced and what seemed to help the most

– Staple breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes

and her tips for being Healthy In Real Life

Brittany eating bird food

Here’s some background info on Brittany:

Brittany is a health coach, certified personal trainer and the woman behind Eating Bird Food, a wellness platform where sheshares recipes, workouts, wellness articles, travel adventures and more. Brittany focuses on living a balanced life throughhealthy habits over dieting. Rather than promoting a specific diet, she strives to show a balanced approach to health with real-food, plant-focused meals that are not only nutritious, but also delicious and satisfying.

Resources from this episode:

Maple Balsamic Tempeh Bowls

Asian chopped salad


Peanut Butter Banana Chia Oatmeal

Get her ebook, Fit With Five here!

Find Brittany at her blog, on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!

Thank you so much for listening and for all of your support with the podcast! Please leave a rating or review if you enjoyed this episode. If you leave a rating, head to this page and you’ll get a little “thank you” gift from me to you. 

You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play.

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Hi friends! I’ve been waiting for this day for the past few months! They’re finally here:

Fitnessista Fit Guide Cover Display

New Fit Guides are available (choose from 6!) and they’re better than ever.

When I first released the Fit Guides, it was on a subscription basis. The feedback was incredible and everyone seemed to love the plans. The Facebook group was bumping with testimonials from women who felt stronger, more empowered on their fitness journey, and were crushing their personal goals. 

When I saw a subscription cancelation notice, I’d usually send a quick email to see if there was any feedback they could share so I could make the plans better.

The major reason:

It was a subscription. 

I totally get it. I’m particular about subscriptions, too, and so often, I’d rather pay once and enjoy than have to continue to pay monthly.


So that was a huge change that I made. You pay once, and you get everything:

12 weeks of customized workouts to suit your goals and preferences

4 weeks of meal plans and grocery lists from a Registered Dietitian (Kim! She is SO amazing at fueling athletes and providing healthy, sustainable meal plans as you work towards your goals)

2 bonus follow-along workout videos: HIIT + Strength and Pure HIIT 

Fit Guide Bonus Covers

– Cardio guidelines with extra cardio workouts to do at home or the gym

When you purchase a Fit Guide, you have 5 options to choose from: Benchmark Babe, Cardio Queen, Lean Machine, Fitness Freak, and Home Workout Warrior. (Early postpartum mamas will be referred to my post baby bod plan, which is a safe, effective way to get back in the fitness game after giving birth. Post baby bod advanced is for those who want to take it to the next level.)

Fit guide ladies

How do you choose which plan is for you?

You can take this free and fun quiz to see what I’d suggest! You aren’t obligated to purchase your quiz result and can choose from any Fit Guide you’d like. If you’re torn between plans, please leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll help you decide.

Why did I create these plans?

There are a ton of fitness plans in the internet sea, but they’re designed for one person. One type of exerciser, one type of goal, one type of training style. They don’t take into account personal goals and preferences, but instead loop everything into a general plan or category. Of course, sharing fitness is a GREAT thing, but I thought that there has to be a better way to customize workout plans.

I really wanted to create something different, and something that would cater to the various goals and likes/dislikes that are out there. 

For SO long, I received requests to do online personal training. It’s something I’d love to do, but I’d much rather be able to help a lot of people instead of like 5 a month. It’s something I’ve been trying to figure out since I started the blog, so in order to help as many people as possible, I categorized the 6 most common types of clients I train:

The Benchmark Babe (working to get started or back in the fitness game. They’re setting their benchmark for success!)

Cardio Queen (the cardio junkie who loves the sweat and endorphins of cardio but may be lacking the fitness front)

The Lean Machine (the strength training maven who likes to follow a structured muscle split and has goals to increase lean muscle)

The Fitness Freak (those who love all the classes and all of the fitness equipment! The more variety, the better)

The Home Workout Warrior (the ones who get in their fitness hustle at home. They’re dedicated to their goals, but may need some more structure or variety)

The early postpartum mama, who wants to get back her fitness levels without compromising the healing process post-birth

These are also the types of clients I LOVE TO TRAIN. I truly enjoy creating fitness plans and have been doing it for a long time. There’s a lot of art and science that went into the design and structure of each plan. They’re not something I just threw together; each one was created with purpose (and so much love!). They’re like my lil fitness plan babies. 

Here’s what our first round of Fit Guide ladies had to say:

Fit guide testimonialsFit guide testimonial 2

Fit guide feedback

Some of the amazing results:

Laura progress shots

Fit guide progress

And as a Fit Guide tester myself – I do Lean Machine or Fitness Freak workouts almost every time I strength train – along with more focused nutrition, they’ve changed my body. I feel stronger, leaner, and these solid workouts (in addition to eating more carbs and protein) have me feeling so much more energized. 

Fitnessista fit guide

Who these plans are for:

– Those who are looking for structure and guidance, especially as we head into the busy holiday season. It’s so much easier to stay committed and motivated when you have a plan in place (and someone cheering you on!)

– Those who are comfortable strength training and can execute movements on their own with proper form. We have a comprehensive exercise gallery here and I’m always adding new workout moves! As always, please check with a doctor before making any fitness changes.

– Those who want a personal trainer without the extra time requirement and expense. For the cost of less than 2 personal training sessions, you get 12 weeks worth of workouts, tools, and motivation

– Those who have hit a plateau and are looking to shake things up, take fitness to the next level and accomplish new goals

Who these plans are NOT for:

– Those who don’t like to strength train on their own or purely take fitness classes

– Those who are happy doing their own thing

Take your free fitness quiz here and check out the plans here! The price will jump this weekend to $97, so now’s the time to get dibs on your spot.

We’ll be starting the workouts on Monday of next week so I hope you’ll join in the fun. 



Congrats to the winner of the Fit Guides sneaky giveaway: Hillary! (Check your email for your access code today)

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Blender soups are great because, often, you need just a few ingredients. Start with one all-star, seasonal ingredient like winter squash, broccoli, tomato, or asparagus. Beyond that, perhaps an onion, some broth or water, some herbs or spices, boom – you've got what you need to make a beautiful, silky blended soup.

A soup like this can come together in under fifteen minutes – you cook the aromatics, add the main vegetable with some broth or favored liquid, and let simmer until the vegetable(s) are cooked through. Then you go to town with more spices and toppings. I throw the term blender around loosely here. If you don't have a traditional blender, a hand blender is fine. They work great, particularly if you're one of those people who avoids dealing with a blender because of the clean-up. 😉 A high-speed blender can give an extra smooth, beautiful texture, but I used an immersion hand blender for years, making soups like these, before taking the high-speed plunge. Still delicious.

1. A Simple Carrot Soup(101 Cookbooks)
This simplest carrot soup! Carrots and onion form the base, it's spiked with dollop of red curry paste, and then pureed into silky oblivion. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

2. Turmeric Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Almond Streusel(Cheeky Kitchen)
If you're up for a more complex carrot soup, here's where it's at. Lemongrass, coconut, ginger, garlic, and tahini come together in this beauty. it's a blended carrot soup with a coco-almond streusel topping. Right? Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

3. Alkalizing Green Soup(101 Cookbooks)
Ten ingredients in a blender, this soup is a potent jolt of alkalizing vegetables and herbs, made with a protein-rich split green pea base. This is great when you need an anti-dote to and overly indulgent week. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

4. Stinging Nettle and Spring Garlic Soup(Hungry Ghost)
With their abundant vitamins and minerals, I'm always looking for ways to work more nettles into my diet. Andrea always inspires, and this is the perfect soup for springtime or if you come across nettles at the market (or out on a hike!). Use a veg broth if you'd like to keep it vegetarian / vegan. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

5. Roasted Tomato Soup(Sprouted Kitchen)
When you've had your fill of the seasons best fresh tomatoes, and when you're ready to transition into fall, this is the soup to make. You still want to use great tomatoes, and you can easily make this vegan by using coconut milk or a thick nut milk in place of the heavy cream called for. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

6. Julie Morris's Cumin Beet Soup(Julie Morris / Jenni Kayne)
From Julie's Superfood Soups book, this vibrant blended stunner includes power ingredients like cumin, turmeric, and maca. It has a coconut milk base, nut milks will work as well. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

7. Cauliflower Soup with Lemon Zest(The Thinking CAP)
Sometimes simple is best, and that what you see here. A recipe by nutritionist Dana James strong on the cauliflower front, with a hint of lemon. Five ingredients (aside from water, salt). Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

8. Warm Almond, Garlic, and Parsnip Soup(Green Kitchen Stories)
A (remote) riff on Spanish gazpacho. I love the use of underutilized parsnips here, and the red grape and thyme finish. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

9. Broccoli Cheddar Soup(101 Cookbooks)
I love the combination of broccoli, mustard, and Cheddar here. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

10. Pumpkin and Rice Soups(Local Milk)
Brilliant use of smoked salt here adding depth to a winter squash and apple blended soup base. Also, an herby kiss of fresh time counters the natural sweetness here. To make this vegan, swap in your favorite non-dairy milk for the cream – a thick homemade cashew nut milk works great – (1 cup soaked nuts blended w/ two nuts, strained). Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

11. Coconut Broccoli Soup(101 Cookbooks)
A simple broccoli and spinach affair, made with coconut milk broth, double greens (broccoli & spinach), and topped with good stuff like pan-fried tofu cubes, lots of toasted almonds, and shredded scallions. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

12. A Simple Asparagus Soup(101 Cookbooks)
Spiked with a dollop of green curry paste, this is a springtime favorite. Just a handful of ingredients, and you can use cashew nut or almond milk in place of the coconut milk if you like. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

13. Pumpkin and Rice Soups(101 Cookbooks)
Ginger-spiked pumpkin (or winter squash) soup. It calls for fresh ginger juice, pressed from grated ginger, and a kiss of serrano chile. Just a short list of ingredients come together beautifully here. Get the recipe here.

Thirteen Great Blender Soups you can Make Tonight

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Hi friends! In today’s podcast episode, we’re talking about a fitness lover’s worst nightmare:

injuries… and how to deal with them.

It can be SO hard to be patient while you wait to heal. You want to make sure you’re doing everything you need to do for a full recovery and prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. Thankfully, my good friend Jessica Valant is here with tons of amazing tips for dealing with pain and injuries.

In this episode, we discuss:

– How injuries happen in the first place

– When you should use heat and when you should ice

– When is surgery necessary and when we should explore other options

– Cryotherapy (and why we’ll both never do it)

– How a healthy non-injured person can still have access to a Physical Therapist



– Jessica’s tips for being Healthy In Real Life (such a great one for the upcoming holiday season!)

Jessica Valant Instagram

A little bit about Jessica:

Jessica Valant is the founder of Jessica Valant Pilates. She’s a physical therapist, fitness instructor, Pilates teacher, and mom of two. She has her own membership site and also provides free YouTube and Facebook workouts for her audience. She recently co-founded Momentum Fest with her husband and the dates are set for next year! Be sure to check it out if you’re close to Denver or want to plan a movement-based vacay.

Resources from this episode:

Jessica’s membership site

Her AMAZING YouTube channel (she’s super close to hitting 100k subscribers, so help a girl out and click “subscribe!”)

Some of my favorite YouTube videos from Jessica:

Back pain relief exercises

Exercises for shoulder pain

Hip strengthening and hip pain

How to do crunches without neck pain

Pelvic floor exercises

Sciatica pain relief

Scoliosis exercises

Thank you so much for listening and for all of your support with the podcast! Please leave a rating or review if you enjoyed this episode. If you leave a rating, head to this page and you’ll get a little “thank you” gift from me to you.

You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play.

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This is a noodle salad you'll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. It has tofu and peanuts, coconut, ginger, avocado, and hemp seeds. The dressing(!) – it's simple but strong, and steps in with an assertive spicy sriracha-lime punch. This is one of those near-perfect one dish meals. You might not want to prep this many ingredients every day, but you'll forget about that detail the minute you take a bite. And you can see exactly how it comes together in the video below. xx! -h


Noodle Salad: Make Ahead Components

A couple of tips – you can make the dressing a few days in advance. You can also do much of the chopping and grating a day or two in advance. Cook the noodles to order, though.

Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

Let me know if you try it, and please report back if you land on any seasonal adaptations that you are particularly excited about.

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I don’t use the term life changing lightly, but this rice porridge recipe fits the bill. It’s a one pot, effortless, green, nutrient-packed twist on one of my favorite things to eat. Congee, also commonly referred to as rice porridge. This version incorporates a lot of chopped spinach. A lot. Enough spinach that your body will notice.

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

The Cooking Method

I make this porridge in an Instant Pot. You can also make it in a thick-bottomed pot on the stovetop – no Instant Pot necessary. Although, that method requires more babysitting. Similar to this Instant Pot Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric, you put your rice into the pot, add water or broth, walk away, and start daydreaming about toppings.

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

Let’s Talk about Toppings

Here you see lime, crushed kale chips and toasted nori, toasted pepitas, hemp seeds, and jungle peanuts. The tofu is sliced thinly, drizzled with shoyu, and draped over the porridge. Sometimes I spike the whole situation with sriracha sauce, sometimes I don’t.

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

Getting the Rice Porridge Just Right

I’ve settled on a ratio of brown rice to white rice that works really well. You’ll see that reflected in the recipe. It’s one part white jasmine rice to two parts brown jasmine rice. You can optionally pepper that rice blend with 1/4 cup of other quick cooking grains or pulses if you like – French lentils, adzuki beans, Job’s tears, etc. Or not, totally your call!

Life Changing Green Rice Porridge Recipe

I know I say this often, but feel free to use this recipe and ratio as a jumping off point. Next time I might add a bunch of chopped herbs, and use another favorite broth in place of water.

I hope you love this rice porridge! It’s nutrient-packed and green. Simple to make. Made with whole foods. Delicious anytime of day. One pan magic. And, the perfect hearty, satisfying canvas to load up with your favorite toppings.

Lastly, for anyone looking for more Instant Pot recipe inspiration, I've set up an Instant Pot recipe category – all my favorite successes are featured there. And, for reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1Enjoy!

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Energy bites aren't a new thing, but if you're a person that grabs commercial power bars regularly, and you're not already on board, give these a try as a DIY alternative. I make them for a 4 o'clock late afternoon snack to reach for when I'm at the studio, but they're also a great travel option. Kids love them. Adults love them. The best part is that you're in control of the ingredients, and they're a breeze to make. That said, I deploy a few, small, but (I'll argue) significant personal preferences when I set out to make energy bites.
No-bake Energy Bites

Energy Bite Strategy

Most recipes tend to use raw coconut flakes, and raw oats. I find a light toasting of both is worth the slight extra effort. I also like chia seeds here, and tend to use them as my seed of choice, but I first beat them up in a mortar and pestle a bit before adding them to the mix. Also, feel free to swap things up a bit – trade in alternate seeds, use whatever sweetener you prefer, add spices if you like, or an alternative nut butter, or keep things simple, and just go with this version – Enjoy!


A quick side note, I make these with whatever nut butter I have on hand. Typically peanut or almond butter, but in the video up above you'll see sunflower seed butter. All great!

No-bake Energy Bites

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