People have been asking me about starting a food company since I originally started Happy Healthy Human back in 2014. I was resistant for a long time – I believe in the power of quality, homemade food, and I didn’t want to have to compromise on my values and standards for a high quality product.
Eventually, the internal and external pressure to start a company won. I realized that creating a product didn’t have to compromise my mission of providing personalized nutrition and the best ingredients to my clients and customers. Instead – Happy Healthy Human snacks were born. Each snack is specially designed to help you feel Balance, Calm, Motivation, or Relief. Each one has a completely unique flavor profile and includes different ingredients to impact your body and mind in distinct ways.
One of the most common complaints I hear about healthy eating is that it takes too long. Eating out or heating something up in the microwave just seems so much more convenient.
Even though I love to cook, I also love shortcuts and easy recipes. I roast all my veggies during a weekly meal-prep session, I make most of my sauces and toppings in a blender (30 seconds or less!), and I’m a fan of the fastest protein source: an egg.
Lessons from our Happy Healthy Human Ayurveda cooking class with Anu and Seema!
Last Sunday, my fabulous teachers from India, Anu Agarwal and Seema Johari came to teach a healing cooking class. We had a fabulous group of 16 who were ready to cook, learn, and eat!
I knew when I showed up at 10am it was going to be a great day. Anu, Seema, and their friend Belinda showed up with their pots and pans, ingredients, and smiles. The ladies worked hard concocting delicious dishes, but they luckily had a few minutes to catch up with a chai before everyone arrived.
When everyone showed up, we started with some mingling and Happy Healthy Human snacks, which are actually inspired by Ayurveda, which is the ancient Indian system of healing that inspired Anu and Seema’s cooking.
Pretty soon though, we were all in the kitchen, helping Anu make dishes and learning from her wisdom.
After 2 hours (and 8 dishes completed!) we sat down to a beautiful feast. It was a magical day.
For everyone that couldn’t make it – here are some key lessons from our cooking class.
You want food to nourish mind, body, and soul.
This means it’s worth the time and money to buy fresh, local ingredients. Was that plant sprayed with tons of chemicals? Was that animal treated fairly? The more fresh whole foods you eat, the better the prana, or energy, that it can share with you. Choose wisely.
Then consider yourself. Are you stressed out? Angry while you cook? Impart some love and joy into your food. It will taste better and be better for you. (And there’s scientific basis for this. The more stressed you are, the harder it is to properly digest and assimilate your nutrients. So take a deep breath and find some calm.)
Good cooking doesn’t have to be complicated.
Anu used 4 core spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fenugreek) to make 3 different vegetable dishes that were all unique and delicious. If you use these 3 different spice blends for different vegetables and veggie mixtures, you’ll never run out of new, yummy meals.
Cook your spices in oil to get their healing properties.
Anu taught us how releasing the active oils from spices like turmeric and cumin requires heating and cooking. Plus, it suffuses the oil with delicious flavor, making your finished product taste even better. Here’s how to use these cooked spices in your cooking:
Gently heat up your olive oil or ghee.
Add your whole spices until they start to dance (as Anu says)
Add your powdered spices with some water (about 2-3 tbsp).
Let the water boil off, and the healing properties of the spices start to release.
When the water is gone, add your veggies, and cook until they’re the desired consistency.
In ten minutes, you have a delicious meal to call your own!
A pressure cooker is your best friend.
Don’t have time to make beans? Quinoa and rice too much of a hassle? Get a pressure cooker. It’ll cut your cooking time by 60-70%, and you’ll get perfect beans each time. I just invested in this beauty.
Prevent gas with this genius way to cook beans.
This tip is from Seema, Anu’s mom and cooking extraordinaire. Heat up olive oil with minced garlic and cumin seeds in a pot. Add your rinsed beans or lentils, water, and a few pinches of asafoetida (also known as hing). This Indian spice is known for it’s ability to improve the digestibility of beans. Cook until the beans are soft, and then salt and serve. The cumin, garlic, and asafoetida will help you digest.
The key to your cooking success is magic sauce
Anu’s recipe for magic sauce can be used on almost any vegetable or bean. Chana masala, Aloo Mattar, or any dish that could use some extra flavor. Give it a try!
A few weeks ago, I helped host a giveaway on Instagram with the lovely Kaley of @the_goodness_goddess. She is all about living authentically and sharing healthy, happy ways with others, which is a mission you know Happy Healthy Human can get behind.
The rules of the giveaway? In order to win a sample pack of Happy Healthy Human, we simply wanted to know people’s favorite self-care tips.
We all have little tips and tricks that help us feel amazing. But what’s obvious and simple to us can be life-changing for others. In the spirit of learning from everyone you come in contact with, I wanted to share some of my favorite comments from this giveaway.
My other takeaway from this experience? Self-care is personal. We all have different routines and habits that make us feel our best.
I’d love to keep the crowd-sourcing going: what’s your favorite self-care tip? Please share in the comments below.
eatwithkelly: I like to mediate every morning and night after waking up, and right before going to bed 🙌🏽
lavender_lemon22 My self care tip is taking time for personal development! This has been huge for me the past few months!
sarah.marie01 Before bed, give yourself 10 minutes to reflect on your day.
holisticselfloveMy favorite self care tip is one I actually just started (and I am obsessed/ can’t wait to share) I have a habit of internalizing my feelings and then the smallest thing will break me. I often worry about things outside of my control and visualization to let go of those things doesn’t work too great for me. SO! I bought a small box from michaels, I am going to paint it, and my fears/stressors/things I can’t control, I will write down and place in the box because they aren’t mine to hold on to forever. 💚💚💚
kibas_kitchen My self care tips is to spend some time in thought each day to reflect on life and all the things you have to be grateful for, it might not be much but it’s something!
@beatactivated i love using the Mama Belly oil from the Baby Bear Shop. It’s organic, smells great, helps me relax and make sure I don’t get any stretch marks on my belly and thighs. And it’s great for my 7 yr old son on his Eczema and soon to be born baby!
livewellman I like to add two drops of the Doterra “On Guard” oil to my coconut oil when I do a pull in the morning!! It helps my overall immune system anndddd protects my gums
jennie_langer Drink at least half your body weight (in oz) of water to make sure you’re drinking enough water. It helps a bunch of different parts and systems in your body, so it’s super important to make sure you get enough. A lot of people don’t realize that they need as much as they do.
thelilveggieSelf care for me is curling up with a good book & a cup of herbal tea 📖🍵 best way to relax and escape! ✨
julisabino I’m all about some time spent in nature! Whether it’s a walk to the lake or gardening, I need some Motha Nature! 💙
mngeraghtyMy favorite self care technique is going for a swim and enjoying a fresh, healthy smoothie 🍍🍎🍋
kaaydubss🌴🍃 fave self care tip: drinking tonsss of water 🌊💦 , switching up work out routines, trying to eat as clean / paleo friendly as possible 🌝 :~)
purposeinjourney My favorite self care is swimming. The world shuts off for a little while and I have to focus to stay in the moment. It keeps me in my body, which is awesome because I often dissociate.
So, what’s your favorite self-care tip? Which from this list might you start to incorporate?
In general, I try to stay away from posting desserts. There are a thousands (if not millions) of cake and cookie recipes up on the internet, and the last thing we need is another delicious plate of ooey-gooey-ness tempting us to ditch our healthy resolutions.
Get a high protein, savory breakfast with this easy oatmeal recipe!
Even though all the hype is around smoothie bowls and unicorn toast, I wanted to highlight a how you can update a breakfast classic so it feels just as fancy, without the need to buy crazy or hard-to-find ingredients.
I get it: most oatmeal recipes all end the same way: cinnamon, maple syrup, banana, berries….it can be pretty boring.
And while those smoothie bowls are cool (literally and figuratively), sometimes you just want something with a little more heft, salty/savory quality, and of course, protein.
The problem with regular oatmeal
Oatmeal is a fabulous food: it’s high in fiber, beneficial vitamins, and it’s just plain delicious. However, it’s a little lacking in the protein and fat department. That means that when you eat a simple breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, you get all carbs, resulting in a quick burst of energy that simply doesn’t last.
Even if you appreciate a sweeter oatmeal, it’s important to find ways to add more protein and fat, whether it’s through coconut oil, almonds, peanut butter, or chia seeds.
A needed oatmeal update
In the spirit of “put an egg on it”, I wanted to make a savory oatmeal that’s high in protein and tastes fabulous. Bonus: this breakfast looks and sounds much fancier than it really is, meaning it’s the perfect thing for Sunday brunch.
In my savory oatmeal recipe, we pair oatmeal with a fried egg, tahini, and green onions.
About the ingredients:
Tahini sounds fancy, but it’s essentially peanut butter made with sesame seeds. It results in a creamy, rich topping that pairs perfectly with the egg yolk. Sesame seeds are a great source of zinc and warm your body right up.
Green onions add a burst of fresh flavor.
Chaat masala is an Indian spice blend that adds a sour element that plays perfectly off the creaminess of the other ingredients.
Even though it looks like a lot of steps, it can actually come together in 15 minutes or less. It’s a great way to get your body feeling good for a powerful, focused day.
Cook the oatmeal according to the ingredients on the container: bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the oats and salt, and stir. Let the oats boil for approximately 5 minutes, and then turn down the heat and let sit for another 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile: fry your egg. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add the egg, and cook to your liking.
Giving up caffeine was probably the hardest food change I’ve made over this past 12 years of eating healthy.
Reducing meat? Pretty simple. Giving up Doritos? I was OK with that. But caffeine? Coffee? My personal and professional love? That was hard.
Why I decided to give up caffeine
By the time I decided to give up caffeine, I had a super clean diet. I at (basically) no processed food, only consumed meat 2-3 times per week, and I cooked my own meals. But there were two main reasons why I decided to cut caffeine out.
Mood and energy management. I was by no means a coffee fiend. I drank a small coffee or espresso every morning and afternoon. But I knew that if I didn’t get my coffee…I’d be asking for a headache. Even worse, I would get cranky and angry until I had my caffeine fix. I decided that I didn’t want to be dependent on this substance to be my best self.
Adrenal health. Caffeine boosts our metabolism and increases cortisol, our main stress hormone. Drinking caffeine gives you a quick burst of energy that’s akin to getting chased by a tiger (i.e., stress). After that burst of energy and adrenaline, you’re left with the after effects (i.e., burnout). It’s not a long-term energy solution. If you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue, thyroid or estrogen issues, cutting out caffeine might be hugely beneficial. Learn more about it here.
How to give up caffeine
If you currently take milk and sugar with your coffee, start here:
Reduce your sugar in your coffee by 1/2 tsp per week.
Once you’re down to 1/2 tsp (or no) sugar in your coffee, begin to reduce your milk in your coffee by 1/2 tsp per week until you’re down to 1/2 tsp (or no) milk in your coffee.
Continue to the plan outlined below!
If you currently have less than 1/2 tsp of milk and sugar in your coffee, start here:
List out the number of coffees you drink each day.
Put a dash next to the coffees you get because they’re simply right in front of you (not because you really want it).
Put an exclamation point next to any coffee you drink after 3pm.
Put a star next to the coffees that you get because you are feeling tired or want energy.
Put a heart next to the coffees you drink because you truly love the beverage.
Take a look at the breakdown of your coffees. Try to go a day without any of the coffees that have a dash next to them. Did anything change? Go for a week without those “dash” coffees.
Next, try switching all of your post 3pm coffees to decaf. Do you notice a difference in your energy, mood, or sleep? Go for an entire week without 3pm or later caffeine.
Now here’s the harder stuff. Start to reduce the star coffees. Perhaps you’re able to simply not have that coffee anymore. If that’s too much, reduce the size of that coffee by 1/4 or 1/2. Spend 3-4 weeks getting used to life with less of those check mark coffees. Note that you might have some increased cravings for food and sugar during this time. That’s why drinking lots of water and reducing your coffee intake slowly is so important.
Once you’ve gotten to a solid month or two of only having your “heart” coffees, it’s time to start reducing your intake. Because these heart coffees are important to you – how you replace them is important. Look at the options that follow and decide which makes most sense for you. Consider when you have those coffees, the importance of a warm beverage, and how likely it is that you’ll get caffeine headaches as you ease off. Here are some options:
Slowly reduce the amount of the coffee you drink and don’t replace it with anything.
Switch to decaf (immediately or slowly over time).
Switch to green tea (low caffeination) or decaf/herbal tea.
As you can tell, reducing your caffeine isn’t a fast process. But following this protocol will let you stay away from caffeine long-term and still feel good.
As always, reducing caffeine isn’t the right solution for everyone, so decide what’s best for your body, and go from there! I’ll be here to support you along the way.
A few weeks ago, my friend asked “can you eat too many vegetables?” I knew there must be some symptom that prompted the question.
“Ever since the New Year, I’ve been on this vegetable kick, and my digestive system has been having a really hard time.”
It eventually became clear that she was eating a huge amount of raw kale, greens, broccoli, and other light vegetables from the brassica family.
“You’re having a lot of bloating and diarrhea, aren’t you?” She looked around to see if anyone was listening and then admitted….”YES”.
What’s prompting her symptoms
My friend is a very active, fit 30-something with a high-energy job and personality. Her active, energetic personality indicated a Vata and Pitta personality (what’s vata and pitta? Click here).
All of her movement (both for exercise and in her work life) activates vata, which is ruled by air, space, and movement. Meanwhile, a big bowl of raw kale has the same qualities (How so? Think about how much raw kale shrinks when you cook it. There’s so much space and air between the leaves! )
This air/wind in the raw greens creates air in the digestive system, leading to gas and bloating. Meanwhile, all of the fiber in those raw greens also act to increase movement in our digestive system, promoting diarrhea.
Why popular health media has it wrong
You know how every article tells us we need to eat more greens? They say we need to be downing kale smoothies and raw salads at every meal.
What happened when I went a week without eating kale
Inspired by my conversation with my friend, I decided to go a week without eating kale. I know that a huge amount of raw greens isn’t good for my body, but I usually have kale at least once per day in cooked form.
For one week, I decided to try going kale free, just to see what happened.
Amazingly enough, my body didn’t break down. My health or vitality or energy didn’t fade.
Instead, I got rid of a persistent bloat that had been bothering me for months. I felt satisfied from my meals, and frankly, just the reduction in bloating increased my quality of life and mood.
How to tell you need to eat less raw greens
Do you think cutting out raw greens might be good for you? Here are some indications that a kale-free week might work well for you:
You frequently deal with bloating followed by diarrhea
You do high-intensity cardio/exercise workout for 45-60 minutes per day
You have an active lifestyle – you’re on your feet at work all day, commute by walking or bike, and travel between client meetings.
You live in a big city or loud urban location.
You have frequent plane travel.
If any of these sound like you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t eat any greens. But there are some better ways to get your fix.
How to make your kale and greens easier to digest
Cook your greens! Cooking your kale, spinach, or arugula will reduce their air-y properties. It breaks down some of the fiber and harder-to-digest compounds in the kale, helping your digestive system.
Oil them up. Add some olive oil to those cooked greens (or heavily dress your raw salad) to also help your digestive system process the greens and be nicer for your digestive system (bonus: it’ll also help you absorb some of the healthy phytochemicals in the greens!).
Eat them seated. No more smoothies on the go! Take a seat, eat, chew, and help your body digest these more difficult compounds.
Combine them wisely. In addition to oil, add some grains, sweet potato, or a small piece of meat to your meal. It’s grounding for your body and will help counterbalance the airy quality of the greens.
The larger health message
Even if your body feels awesome with raw greens like kale – there’s a message here that applies to everyone.
That message is that one size does not fit all. The nutrition advice you read in health blogs or articles may not be the advice that applies to your body’s specific needs. So read the articles, give it a try, and if it doesn’t feel good – stop doing it!
If you could use a little more guidance on figuring out what nutrition habits will help you feel your best, set up a complimentary coaching session with me. I’ll help you discover the unique combination of foods that will help you feel great.