How stress leads to digestive issues

how stress causes digestive issues photo

The “mind-body” connection used to be seen as a fringe science reserved for hippies and people who didn’t trust mainstream medicine.


But the more we learn about our bodies and disease progression, the more we find that the healthy of your mind and your body are truly connected. This connection has been appreciated by Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda for hundreds of years, and now Western medicine is starting to keep up.


In today’s post, we’ll talk about the many ways stress can cause digestive issues. Then, I’ll share 4 things you can do to keep your belly healthy and reduce your stress!

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Developing a weight loss mindset

mindset for weight loss photo

A lot of the conversations I have with clients start in the same way. Excited to have a nutrition expert at their disposal for a full hour, the questioning begins immediately:

  • What about juice?”
  • Do I need to be gluten free?”
  • What should I eat for breakfast?”

Over time, our conversation shifts. Rather than just talking about the benefits of grass fed meat, or the pros and cons of drinking coffee, we start to talk about why making healthy choices is difficult at work, how to cook with picky eaters in the house, and how to take time for self-care.


As one client told me this last week – “I started working with you looking for you to tell me what to eat. But I’m starting to think that it’s about much more than that. It’s actually about changing my mindset.”


That’s the scary truth most nutritionists don’t tell you (or aren’t willing to work with you on). It’s not simply about intellectually knowing what food to put in your body at a specific time. It’s actually about understanding the patterns in your thinking and the blindspots that are keeping you from getting as far as you want to be.


Now you might be thinking – “that’s not what I’m here for! I want to lose weight or have more energy. I don’t want to deal with mindset mumbo-jumbo.”


But here’s the thing: the gains you make from working on the mindset mumbo-jumbo put the nutrition gains to shame. You start achieving your goals faster and with less stress when you’ve taken care of your mindset around the goals.


If knowledge is power, self-knowledge is all-encompassing, gratifying, amazing power.


This isn’t just true for nutrition – it’s important in all areas of your life. For many of our goals, we say we want to know ONE thing, but we actually want and need the answers to another question.

A great way to understand the goals behind your goals, or the problems behind your problems, is to ask yourself “which means what?”. It helps you get into the mindset behind your statements and understand the core issue or desire you’re working with.

The process is quite simple. You name your goal (for example, I want to lose 10 pounds”), and then ask yourself “which means what?”

Answer the question (e.g., “Which means that I fit in my skinny jeans”), and ask yourself again “which means what?”.

Answer yet again (e.g., “Which means that I’m the same weight I was during college”).

“Which means what?” “Which means that I feel young, energetic, and excited.”

Ah-ha! Your weight loss goal is not just about the number on the scale, or the size of your pants. It’s about your energy, your enthusiasm, and your quality of life.

“Which means what” helps you connect with your why and with the emotional reasons driving your behaviors. Most importantly, this line of questioning gives you a much more compelling reason to stick to the habits that will lead to those goals day in and day out.

So now it’s your turn: choose one goal you’re currently working towards and ask yourself “which means what?” until you get to a core feeling or emotion. Did you learn anything new about yourself or that goal because of your questioning? 


Give this method a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below. 


  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach, yoga instructor, and makes delicious snacks to help you eat with intention. Learn more here.


Healthy Carbs Cheat Sheet


Get the guidelines on good vs bad carbs, including a sample day's meal plan!

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Homemade chocolate thin mint cookies

homemade chocolate mint thin mint cookie photo

I am totally in support of the Girl Scouts mission:  “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

But the one area where in my opinion they fail in their mission is in their cookies. Traditional thin mints are a combination of low-quality ingredients. They’re basically full of sugar, corn syrup, soybean oil, canola oil, dairy derivatives, and other additives. They use natural flavoring – but there’s no trace of actual peppermint in the ingredients.


Here’s the thing about cookies like Thin Mints. They taste sweet and feel pretty addictive. But the reason why you need a full box to be satisfied is because they’re not actually flavorful or filling.

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3 ways to get the health benefits of coffee

is coffee healthy photo

Thank goodness coffee exists, am I right? I know I’m not alone in my gratitude, because when I first start working with clients, one of their first questions is – “are you going to take away my coffee?”


My answer is a resounding No! I was a barista for 7 years, and a coffee drinker for many years before that. My life would not be the same without that delicious dark beverage!


But it is true that not all coffee is created equal. Sometimes coffee and caffeine can help boost your health. But depending on how you take your coffee and when you drink it, you might be doing more harm than good. 


Here are three things you need to know about coffee/caffeine that will help you consume it in a way that boosts your health and gives you a beneficial buzz.

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Healthy Thyroid Maca Snack Recipe

healthy thyroid maca snack photo

Dealing with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Disease is not easy. Your energy has tanked. You feel tired. And despite watching your diet as carefully as possible, you still see your weight climbing up. You want to exercise and stay healthy, but that feels impossible when all you want to do is sleep.


To make matters worse, the diet recommended for people with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s is pretty strict. It’s recommended that you cut out some foods that are delicious and found everywhere in our food supply:

  • No gluten
  • No sugar
  • No dairy
  • No caffeine

Finding a delicious snack that’s still good for you can feel impossible.

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Fat and oil: what are the healthiest fats and oils to cook with?

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Sometimes nutrition research can give you a bit of whiplash. First fat was bad for you. Then it became good again. Sometimes eggs are evil, and at others, you want to have as much PUFAs (poly-unsaturated fatty acids) as possible.


The terminology is confusing, and it detracts from the most important part: what the heck you should actually consume in your diet.


In today’s post, we’ll show you the differences between saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. But we’ll go beyond the chemistry and show how these different compounds actually affect your body. I’ll share which oils I use in my kitchen, and when it’s most appropriate to use them (because some fats are better than others for cooking). There’s a lot of amazing information here, and you’ll definitely pick up great tips and new ingredients to be using in your kitchen.


Are you ready? Let’s go!

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Peanut Butter Chocolado (Chocolate Avocado) Pudding Recipe

peanut butter chocolate avocado pudding recipe

Maybe you haven’t heard, but people are pretty obsessed with avocados these days.

Most of us were probably introduced to avocados through the delight that is guacamole. But over the past few years, we’ve realized that avocados are good for much more than this nacho accompaniment.

Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids – heart healthy fats that are associated with lower risk of heart disease. A health food that’s also delicious?! Bloggers and families around the world now look for any excuse to add avocados to their favorite dishes


More recently, avocados have even made their way into desserts. Yep, you heard me right, avocado is a popular ingredient in iced cream, cakes, and….chocolate pudding.

That’s what we’re covering today. Chocolate avocado pudding (or Chocolado, as one member of my free Happy Healthy Humans Facebook Group suggested). I was skeptical that avocado would actually improve a chocolate pudding, but I’ve been proven wrong. Avocado actually makes the chocolate pudding taste better! Avocado’s high fat content makes a smooth, creamy texture. The pudding tastes much more decadent than it actually is, meaning you’re satisfied and happy with a smaller portion.

And the avocado isn’t the only virtue in this pudding. I also use banana to sweeten it up instead of processed sugars. Peanuts increase the protein content (and make for a delicious flavor combination).

The nutrition behind the peanut butter chocolate avocado pudding:

Avocado is high in potassium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats, which all improve your heart health.

Cocoa powder has a high antioxidant content helping to relax your blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and boost your mood.

This recipe takes only a minute to mix together, a few minutes to chill, and keeps well in the fridge for a day or two. It’s the perfect after work snack or dinner treat!


Peanutbutter Chocolado (Chocolate Avocado) Pudding Recipe
Prep time
Total time
If you want a rich, decadent chocolate treat, but don't want to bust your diet - look no further. Avocado, banana, cocoa powder, and peanut butter combine to make a rich dessert that's also good for you! Avocados provide beneficial monounsaturated fats that satisfy your cravings. Cocoa powder has antioxidants and polyphenols to reduce inflammation. Banana and just a touch of honey sweeten this dessert and fill you up with minerals like potassium.
Serves: 2-3 generous portions
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts (or 1/3 cup peanut butter)
  • pinch of salt
  1. Roast peanuts at 350F for 15 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add all ingredients except the peanuts to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Add peanuts and blend to incorporate.
  4. Scoop out the mixture and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  5. Serve cold within 3 days.
  6. Notes: Speed up chill time by using a frozen banana! For a smoother pudding, blend peanuts before adding other ingredients.


  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach, yoga instructor, and makes delicious snacks to help you eat with intention. Learn more here.

Healthy Carbs Cheat Sheet


Get the guidelines on good vs bad carbs, including a sample day's meal plan!

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What’s the best protein powder for me?

best protein powder for me photo

I advocate for real foods whenever possible. But…we all know that’s not always possible.


Whether you’re jetting between meetings, traveling, finishing your workout, or helping your kids get ready for school, sometimes you need a quick meal you can eat on the go. 


Protein powders and meal-replacements have made it incredibly easy to get high quality calories fast. But not all protein powders are created equal. And as marketing voices get louder and louder, which protein powder you should choose gets more difficult. 


In today’s post, we’ll:

  •  lay out the differences between the protein powders
  • show how you can make your plant-based protein powder be just as good for you as whey protein (and maybe even a little better than whey protein!)
  • uncover the most important part of the nutrition label when you’re choosing a protein powder. 

Ready to get started?


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Healthy Spinach Pasta Recipe & 3 Other Spiralizer Recipes You’ll Love

healthy spinach pasta spiralizer recipe photo

Obessions can be healthy, right? Because I am legitimately obsessed with this fancy new kitchen tool. It’s called a spiralizer, and maybe you’ve heard about it?


The spiralizer has been getting a lot of press lately: it’s a tool that turns your favorite vegetables – zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and more – into long spirals that are the perfect replacement for pasta. Raw, baked, sautéed, or steamed, there’s so much you can do with these spiralized veggies.

paderno spiralizer amazon photo


I love the spiralizer because it’s revived my slightly tired repetoire of recipes. I love me some vegetables, but I was getting stuck in a rut. But no longer. The spiralizer has me feeling inspired and excited to make dinner again! I’ve loved reviving old pasta recipes that I had put away for good when I took refined carbs and pastas out of my regular diet.


If you’re interested in a spiralizer of your own, there are two different spiralizers I most often see on the market.


There’s a spiralizer from Inspiralized, which has multiple blades and runs about $50.


The second spiralizer (pictured above) is the one that I have. It’s the perfect entry model if you’re not sure you want to commit long-term. It’s just $15, and works like a charm! Note that if you’re cooking for a crowd or are short on time, you’ll want to go for the more expensive spiralizer.


What should you make with your sprializer? 

Today, I’m sharing with you 3 fabulous spiralizer recipes from around the web I know you’ll love, and also share my healthy take on mushroom pasta.


We’ve all seen mushroom pasta dishes at old school Italian joints. They’re not always the perfect picture of health. The mushrooms tend to be drenched in a buttery, oil-y sauce, and the dish is heavier on the pasta than on anything else. Plus, if you got this dish as your main course, you’d have an incomplete meal because there’s no good source of protein.


I’m so excited to reinvent this recipe for you. It’s packed with veggies – I use zucchini for the noodles (or “zoodles” in spiralizer speak!) and tons of fresh spinach. Brown lentils provide a burst of protein and and a savory flavor, and the recipe has tons of selenium-rich shiitake mushrooms. Nutritional yeast is my secret ingredient in this pasta. The yeast increases the umamai flavor and Vitamin B12, which helps boost your energy and isn’t found in any other plant-based foods.


Now let’s get on to the recipes! Here are 3 of my favorite spiralizer recipes from around the web:

Spiralized butternut squash with curried lentils and pumpkin seeds

spiralized butternut squash inspiralized recipe

Cucumber Noodle Salad with Avocado Dill Dressing from The Healthy Maven

cucumber noodle salad the healthy maven photo

Zucchini Breakfast Pizza from The Pancake Princess

zucchini pizza pancake princess


And now…the recipe you’ve been waiting for:

Healthy Spinach and Mushroom Zoodle Pasta
Cook time
Total time
You may not see this recipe at an old-time Italian restaurant, but it's a much better version of the classic mushroom pasta. Zucchini noodles make it refined-flour free, and lentils add a boost of protein. Mushrooms are full of selenium, protein, and vitamin C - they're a nutritional powerhouse! Nutritional yeast gives the dish a delicious flavor without the need for cheese, and it has lots of vitamin B12 - a must-have vitamin for better energy.
Serves: 2
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced shiitake or Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cups spiralized zucchini noodles
  • ¾ cup lentiles
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp nutritional (Brewer's) yeast
  • salt to taste
  1. In a large skillet, sauté olive oil with mushrooms and salt in olive oil until soft (~5 min)
  2. Add zucchini noodles and lentils, stirring gently and cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add spinach leaves, pepper, turmeric, and salt to taste. Cook until wilted (~3 min).
  4. Turn off the heat, add nutritional yeast and stir. Salt to taste.
  5. Serve immediately!

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach, yoga instructor, and makes delicious snacks to help you eat with intention. Learn more here.

Healthy Carbs Cheat Sheet


Get the guidelines on good vs bad carbs, including a sample day's meal plan!

Note: This post does include an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission if you buy a product named on this website. You are not charged extra, and it helps support the content and recipes that you love. Thank you for supporting Happy Healthy Human. Read more about our affiliate policies here.

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Dealing with uncertainty in your life

dealing with uncertainty photo

Let’s start with what we know to be true: human beings LOVE being certain.

We love knowing what time the bus is going to come, that my newsletter will be sent out every Sunday at 8:00am, the route we’re going to take to work, and who our best friend is.

This is because our brains work on a “shock” and “newness” system.
 Our brain is activated when something happens that’s unexpected or new. That’s why loud noises, bright colors, and new tastes evoke such a reaction.

But ultimately, our brain wants to conserve energy by *not* being surprised. It wants to be able to go through the motions and not take in too much new information all day long because it’s draining!

And that’s what uncertainty does to us. It’s a constant state of newness and decision making, and we frankly just find it tiring.

Unfortunately, this craving for certainty can go too far. Because we want to be certain, we get down on ourselves when we feel uncertain. We react to the uncertainty we feel, compounding the difficulties of the situation with an added layer of blame or sadness about our feelings of uncertainty.

So you can deal with uncertainty with stress, or deal with uncertainty in a more productive manner.

Below I list out 3 different ways to react to uncertainty.
As you move through these stages to the higher levels, you learn to respond to uncertainty with positivity, and that uncertainty doesn’t have as much power over you.

Here are the three stages that we go through when dealing with uncertainty:

1. Become an extremist.

These people deal with uncertainty by trying to label everything by it’s extremes. We search for good and bad, right and wrong, and judge things around us by stark terms rather than appreciating nuance. Think about good and bad foods, people you don’t or do like, or situations that you find bad or good. It’s labeling, judgement, and black and white thinking.

2. Create your own cutoff rules.

In this next stage, you create a system in your head to separate positive and negative.

For example, I have a rule of thumb in my business and personal life that I use whenever I’m making a decision: if it’s not a “hell yes”, it’s a “hell no”.

This rule is what stops me from doing things or engaging in activities that I findsorta interesting or kinda want to do. I do things that I want to do 100%, and skip the rest.

Yes, this is still a coping mechanism for uncertainty, but it has the benefit of a being a positive-based system that allows me to stand by my values and standards when uncertainty arrives.

3. Learn to deal with the uncertainty.

In this last (most enlightened) stage, we notice the uncertainty and discomfort of the situation, and we accept it.

We might feel uneasiness in our chest, and we don’t try to swat it away or rush to a decision. We allow ourselves to feel that discomfort and follow it where it goes.

Warning: this is not easy, and I will admit that I don’t do this all of the time.

A great way to keep yourself in this positive place is to actually ask yourself – “what am I certain of? What do I know to be true?”

These questions help you realize that there is some stability and love in your life, and you can handle the pain and small piece of uncertainty that you are facing.

Think back to a recent situation where you felt uncertain. How did you deal with this uncertainty? Can you imagine how using a cutoff, or asking yourself what you are certain of might have changed the situation around? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below (and prove to me that I’m not alone…)


  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach, yoga instructor, and makes delicious snacks to help you eat with intention. Learn more here.


Healthy Carbs Cheat Sheet


Get the guidelines on good vs bad carbs, including a sample day's meal plan!

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