Why I Advocate Food First.

While a lot of research has been done investigating how the nutrients in food impacts our health, there are probably many other nutrients and chemicals within food that we have yet to uncover.  These may be impacting our health in unknown ways, ways nutrition researchers are continuously investigating.  The magic of food, specifically whole, relatively unprocessed foods, is the synergy of nutrients interacting and working together within the body.  That magic is something we do not get in a pill, shake or nutrient concoction sold on the shelves.  There is no better source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals than those found in our whole foods.  This is why I advocate food first.

Food first means we look to food to fuel our bodies for all nutrient needs before reaching for a supplement to nourish our body and aid our daily functions.  Whether you’re an active individual or athlete, ensuring your diet has a balanced foundation should come before investing in a supplement protocol.  What you may find is that your workouts or performance are not optimal due to an inadequate diet.  Until that is resolved, your body cannot perform, recover and reap the benefits of your hard work.  There is a place and time for safe and thoroughly researched supplements with evidence based protocols. Many athletes, active and health seeking individuals can benefit from these.  For the majority of active individuals and recreational athletes, a properly balanced diet in line with your activity level can help you achieve and accomplish your goals.  

Popular supplements like vitamins and minerals are useful when you have an inadequate intake from food and are directed by a health professional after a thorough analysis, typically of a biochemical marker (ie. blood sample or urine analysis).  As noted in a meta-analysis by Farin Kamangar and Ashkan Emadi in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, excessive intake of certain vitamins and minerals have shown harmful to health, including increasing risk for diseases in like cancers and cardiovascular risk, or lack benefits to health.  By including variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, you will most likely get what you need.

Another reason why I advocate food first: the supplement industry is unregulated.  What this means is that the ingredients the bottle claims to include is not overseen by the FDA.  Many studies have revealed contamination, false claims, and that what was purported to be in the supplement was not actually in the bottle.  This is especially true for sports supplements, an industry with a projected worth of $45 billion by 2020, according to Zion Market Research.

Here are some quick, general tips to ensure your diet is balanced:

  • Incorporate nutrient dense fruits and vegetables into the majority of you meals.  Most of our vitamins and minerals come from these, so add a variety that you enjoy.
  • Consume enough protein from chicken, fish, beef, eggs, yogurt, beans and legumes, and soy products with each meal, especially with breakfast and with meals after your workouts.  Protein is essential to help repair hard worked muscles.
  • Include carbohydrate rich foods, especially on days you have a long or tough workout session, like rice, quinoa, whole grain breads, and potatoes.  Carbohydrates are your primary fuel source, so ensure a steady supply throughout the day.
  • Moderate fat intake mostly from plant based sources like nuts, nut butters, avocado, and oils.  Fat is essential for your body to function and should not be ignored.

If you are seeking a more personalized approach to a food first, balanced diet, reach out to me on my contact page.  Stay tuned for more nutrition for health and fitness each week!

Berry Pie with Coconut Flour Crust with Lemon Cashew Cream

I spend a lot of time baking, especially experimenting with healthy desserts.  Some come out better than others and this pie was definitely a win.

I was inspired for this pie when my friend Gioia (also studying to become a Registered Dietitian) sent me a SnapChat of her berry pie.  With few directions on how she made it, which was rather simple, I decided I needed to recreate this pie.  I love being inspired to create my spin on others recipes, and I hope that is what you will do too.

This pie is easy to make and of course super healthy.  I have eaten this for dessert, as a snack and even for breakfast with some greek yogurt (100% recommend this).



Coconut flour crust:

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Berry filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice (can sub another juice or water)

Lemon Cashew Cream:

  • 1 cup cashew soaked for 2+ hours in hot water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • pinch of salt


In a shallow pan heated to medium-high heat, add frozen berries and tart cherry juice.  As the berries start to defrost and reduce, mash the berries in the pan until they are broken up.  Reduce the berries and juice until it becomes a thick, jam-like consistency.  Pour berry mixture into the cooked pie crust.  Cook pie in the oven for 12-15 minutes.  Allow the pie to cool on the counter and then place in the refrigerator for the filling to set for 2 hours.


Set oven to 350 degrees while you prep the pie crust.  In a large bowl combine coconut flour and melted coconut oil together first.  After thoroughly combined, add eggs, maple syrup and pinch of salt.  Press pie crust into a 9 inch pie dish, ensuring the coconut flour mixture is compact.  Create the edge of the pie crust by pressing the mixture onto the sides of the pie dish.  Prick the dough with a fork and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Do not over cook as it can begin to crack.  It will have time to brown and crisp after the filling is added.

While the pie cool,drain the cashews and place in a food processor with the water, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest, and pinch of salt.  Blend on high until creamy and smooth.  Add water by the tablespoon if thick.  Taste the cream and adjust for lemon and sweetness.

Serve pie with cashew cream and a fresh sprinkle of lemon zest.




I’ve had a blog in the past.  I was much younger, less knowledgeable and had relatively little patience to see small triumphs as a way to achieve greater levels of success.  While I have wanted to reboot my food and fitness writing for some time, a graduate education and juggling work and life delayed this adventure.  Now going into my final semester(ish) of grad school, I decided to just do it.

What brought me into the field of nutrition was my love and passion for healthy food and cooking.  Prior to getting my Masters in nutrition, I was going to attend culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute.  Cooking did something for me, like a therapy, that helped me to connect to food and appreciate nourishing my body.  I took advice from a chef I once worked with who advised me to become a Dietitian and after do my chef training.

Having gone into the world of nutrition science and combining that knowledge to what I do in the kitchen, I have a new appreciation for what I cook and how it connects to fueling and healing the body.  While I still have a long way of learning how to cook, my intention is to help you discover and develop ways to enjoy healthy, tasty food.

Thank you for joining my page and I hope to inspire you to lead a healthier, more active life!


Where do you stand with you relationship with food and your body?


Evaluate your relationship today! 

Let's get stronger together.

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