Mint Studios is now MNTSTUDIO! Q + A with MNTSTUDIO Founder, Elaine Hayes

You’ve been busy! There is so much exciting change happening for Mint, or should I say, MNTSTUDIO.

 

Q: Why the name change, and what does “MNT” stand for?

Elaine: We believe change is a good thing! Our studio has become more than just a place where you go to exercise, and we needed to evolve our namesake to match how our studio has naturally evolved. “MNT” stands for “Move, Nourish, Transform”. These three principles are the cornerstones of what we do at MNTSTUDIO and it feels like a much more fitting name than the former. We’re here to make people’s lives healthier, more balanced, and happier through movement. And it’s with the support of our community, a healthy approach to eating, and our amazing fitness classes that we see people transforming their lives for the better every day.

Q: Will you miss “Mint Studios” or excited to evolve into this new brand?

Elaine: “Mint Studios” will always have a special place in my heart, but I’m so excited for the ways we’re expanding our offerings. In the coming months, you’ll see a bigger emphasis on the “Nourish” aspect of our offerings. We’ll be offering more support than ever to our clients and community to make balanced and healthy eating decisions, as well as offering fun, community-building events and opportunities. More than ever, the MNT community will have the opportunity to connect with like-minded, awesome people through us.

Q: The new (remodeled) space is really looking amazing, how many fitness studios do you have now at MNT HQ and what else has changed?

Elaine: Thank you! After opening our doors in 2013, we quickly outgrew our 2,000 sq ft space. When the opportunity arose to take over more square footage and expand our studio, I knew it was meant to be. I worked with the incredibly talented designer, Cassandra Crain, as well as my amazing architect, Adriana Daringa, to carefully design the new space to meet the needs of our clients based on our observations over the past several years: We needed bigger studio spaces, more seating, more bathrooms, and better amenities. We had so much fun working out all the details based on function as well as design, and we hope you love it as much as we do.

Our Group Fitness Studio (where we offer Mat Pilates, MNTbarre, and Yoga) is now almost double the space with plenty of natural light and brand-new hardwood floors. Our Reformer Studio is now double the size and separated from the reception area, allowing for a less crowded experience as well as more privacy. We’ve replaced our Studio Reformers with brand-new Allegro 2 Reformers, which allow for lots of new and exciting exercises to be performed on the machines.

Our Private Pilates sessions are now in a serene, separate space, allowing for more privacy for our clients as well as better availability for booking. With the ability now to offer towel service, clients can borrow a small fresh towel free of charge to help blot that sweaty glow during and after class. We also added more restrooms, a shower, more changing areas, and more spacious seating areas so that everyone has a place to get settled before and after class. Working out at MNT is easier than ever with all the amenities you may need before, during, or after your workday. We also have some gorgeous new retail coming in, which I cannot wait to debut!

One of the things I’m most excited about is our new Childcare offering. We’re going to be rolling out our Childcare Program over the next few weeks, but all I can say is that I want to live in the Childcare room! We had so much fun designing and decorating it, and I think our MNT kiddos are going to love it. As a new mom-to-be myself, I realize the importance of support when it comes to caring for your kids so that you can take care of yourself. With our new Childcare Program, parents will be able to book their little ones in for childcare when they book their class. Childcare will be offered during specific times throughout the week, so keep an eye out for when we announce that!

Q: Will the classes change?

Elaine: Nope, our classes are not changing, but we are giving our equipment and class names a little makeover. As I mentioned above, we’ve swapped out our Reformers for brand-new Allegro 2 Reformers. These are the most versatile, top of the line machines available on the market, and we are so excited for our clients to begin experiencing the amazing results the Allegro 2 offers. Our signature style and format will not change, so you can expect to still get the incredible head-to-toe toning you’ve come to know and love in our Reformer classes.

Our barre classes are now called MNTbarre. As much as we loved our former name, the barre classes we teach at MNTSTUDIO are our own signature format that I personally developed and created, and it only makes sense to call it as such. Again, the class format is not changing, just the name. We have a MNTbarre training coming up May 13th and 14th, so if you’re interested in joining our amazing team of instructors, you can learn more and apply here

Q: Can you tell us more about MNTbarre, and what makes it different than other barre classes?

Elaine: Anyone who takes MNTbarre for the first time is amazed by how much fun yet effective it is. Unlike many barre formats out there, MNTbarre focuses on full range of motion movements, which allow for the body to move the way it’s meant to, while toning head to toe. We also incorporate cardio into all our MNTbarre classes, which means you break a serious sweat – the average calorie burn is usually around 400 per class! What everyone loves about MNTbarre is that it gets the job done all in one go. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about going to do cardio after your barre class – It’s an all-in-one deal which delivers serious results. Another great thing about MNTbarre is that virtually anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a dancer, coordinated, already fit, or a certain size or age. It’s such a great, inclusive class, and it meets you where you are, not the other way around.

Q: I see that you are offering teacher trainings now too?

Elaine: Yes! As I mentioned above, we have a MNTbarre training coming up May 13th and 14th which is going to be amazing.  Our Spring Reformer Training is about to start and is full, but we’ll have another one in the Fall, so keep an eye out for that too. I personally developed and created both of our Teacher Training Programs over the last several years. Our programs are super effective at producing incredible instructors, and that’s something I’m really proud of. We teach you not only the material, but how to engage your students so that your class enjoys every aspect of the experience. Training new instructors is one of my greatest joys, and creating the programs has been a passion project for me. I love seeing new instructors thrive and change people’s lives for the better!

Q: When’s the grand re-opening party? Can I come?

Elaine: We’re doing a soft opening of the new space in April (we haven’t announced a date yet), and we’re going to have a party sometime in late Spring. Yes, anyone who is interested in coming can come to our grand opening party, so keep an eye out for when we announce that!

Q: Last question, I have to call out the elephant in the room, when are you due? And you look fabulous, have you been working out throughout your pregnancy?

Elaine: Ah, thank you! Baby Boy Hayes is due mid-April and we cannot wait to meet him! It’s been a whirlwind few months with the expansion of the studio as well as our family, but it’s also been a wonderfully exciting time and I cannot wait for both my “babies” to be born. I’ve remained physically active throughout my pregnancy, and taking classes at MNTSTUDIO has helped me immensely with staying fit, pain free, and most of all, sane! Our classes are so great for prenatal clients because they can be easily modified and are low impact. I also have been loving the Prenatal Reformer class on Sundays. It feels so great for my body and insures everything is properly aligned –so important when preparing for labor!

Q: Ok, very last question – How can I sign up?

Elaine: Visit our website at mntstudio.co/bookaclass. There, you can take a look at our schedule and decide which class you want to take!

 

A Deep Dive Into The World Of Fat

There is a lot of confusion out there about fat and I know that many of my clients still hold onto old pieces of information that keep them from reaping the benefits of a high, healthy fat diet. One of the questions that I was asked on the MNT Instagram last week was about using Earth Balance butter instead of regular butter as a way to cut back on fat and calories. So, this week, I'm going to walk you through healthy fats, which ones you should be eating and which ones to stay away from. When you select the right fats and add them to your diet they can help you get lean, feel energized and look vibrant! 

Grass-Fed Butter: Grass fed butter is a fantastic way to get more healthy fats into your body. It is full of saturated fat which plays a huge part in our health. Our brains are mainly made up of saturated fats as are our cell membranes, making saturated fats an integral part of nearly every function and organ in our body. Butter also helps you fight fat. Butter is made up of short and medium chain fatty acids making it a quick source of energy for your body. This leaves you feeling fuller longer, reduces cravings and helps eliminate toxins. But remember, not all butter is the same. Go for grass-fed.

Why isn't regular butter, margarine or modified butter good for you? For years, we all thought that we were making a healthy decision by switching to these lower fat, lower cal options in an effort to ditch the saturated fat and keep our hearts healthy, but now we know that isn't true. The fats in these foods include ingredients like canola oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil and soybean oil. These oils are cheap to produce, extremely inflammatory to the body, are genetically modified and also produced with toxic solvents. Companies use these oils in packaged foods to help stabilize and increase the shelf life of the product. No bueno. So for years, we have been lowering our overall fat intake and substituting it with modified oils, sugar and carbs in an effort to ditch what we thought was terrible saturated fat. Science is now showing us that saturated fat is essential for glowing health and that it's the sugar, carbs and toxic oils that are making us fat, sick and exhausted. 

Egg Yolks:  Eggs have gotten a bad rep because of the amount of cholesterol they contain. Well, what science has recently shown us is that the cholesterol they contain is actually good cholesterol, not bad cholesterol. And yes, there is a big difference. Egg yolks have been shown to actually reduce overall cholesterol. They are also packed full of choline which 90% of Americans lack in their diets. Choline helps you think more clearly, so cook some up a few whole eggs before your next big meeting. Don't be afraid of the yolks! 

Coconut Oil: A recent publication in PubMed revealed that coconut oil is more energizing for the body than any other healthy fat out there. It's packed full of medium chain triglycerides that help fight fat. Not only that, but it's also a great antibacterial. So add some to your coffee in the morning or try cooking with it to get all of the body healthy benefits. 

Here are a few more options of healthy fats to include in your diet. Do not be afraid of adding many, if not all of these to your daily diet. Your brain is 60% fat and requires healthy fats for brain power! Healthy fats are also a powerful way to balance your blood sugar which increases fat burning and cuts hunger. Eat up!

Avocados, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, whole dairy like yogurt and milk, olive oil, olives, ghee. 

xo Darby

Sources: NEJM, NCBI, Mark Hyman, Coconut Oil Benefits

 

Paleo Super Bowl Party Wings

It's Super Bowl time! Whether you are into football or just there for the food (guilty), I've got a healthy party recipe for you that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. This week I've baked up paleo coconut flour fried chicken wings for you over on the blog! These are packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats so they are a win, win!

INGREDIENTS:
15 chicken drumsticks (preferably organic)

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, for frying

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Pat chicken dry

Beat eggs in a shallow bowl, set aside. In a shallow dish, mix coconut flour and spices. 

Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly with egg. Transfer egg coated chicken into seasoned coconut flour, coat well with coconut flour and place on a separate plate. 

Heat 1/2 cup coconut oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Working in batches, pan fry drumsticks for 2-3 minutes each side. Place chicken on baking sheet and place in oven for about 8 minutes to cook through. Enjoy!!! xo Darby

Turkey Kale Chili

Ingredients 

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 large white onion chopped

6 garlic cloves

2 lbs organic ground turkey

2 cans (14.5 oz) dice fire roasted tomatoes

1 can (15 oz) canned tomato sauce

4 TBSP chili powder

A dash or two of paprika depending on spice levels

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 bag of broccoli slaw (I like Trader Joe's brand)

2-3 large handfuls of chopped kale

Instructions 

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil, garlic and onions. Stir until onions become translucent. 

Add the 2 lbs of ground turkey and cook until brown. 

Stir in both cans of fire roasted tomatoes, the canned tomato paste and the chili powder, paprika and salt. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. 

Add in the broccoli slaw and then let the chili cook under medium heat for 10 minutes. 

Finally, add the chopped kale to the pot and cook until the kale has wilted. Normally 3-4 minutes. 

Enjoy! 

xo 

Darby

5 High Protein Breakfast Ideas

A carb heavy breakfast will leave you dragging a few hours later and probably force you into that third cup of coffee, or even worse, the office candy jar. Instead, start your day with 10-30 grams of protein to help you feel fuller longer and more energized through lunch. Whether you are following Whole 30, a vegetarian diet or simply trying to aim to eat more cleanly, there's a breakfast idea here that will make you feel fabulous! 

Asian Stir-Fry Frittata

Protein Egg Cups

Breakfast Porridge

Coconut Chia Pudding

Almond Butter Breakfast Cake

WellnessWednesdayMint.jpg

Build Healthy Habits This Year

The New Year is a great time for goal and intention setting. It's a fresh start. Your clean slate. But, it's also important to set yourself up for success because the truth is, when most of us set New Years resolutions, we forget about them within the first couple of weeks of January. To start off this New Year right, and stick to your healthy new goals, I encourage you to focus on shifting small habits. When we build healthy habits, they move us towards our loftier goals. For that reason, I like to focus on my daily habits in order to then achieve my goals. 

To start, I'd like you to write out 3-5 goals that you have for this year. For example, maybe your first goal is to get into the best shape of your life. Instead of immediately sign up for 7 classes in a row and diving deeply into a challenging diet, which will burn you out really quickly, think about making small, more manageable habit changes every day. Do you normally wake up 15 minutes before you have to leave for work and rush out the door? Instead, set you alarm 30 minutes earlier so that you have time to drink some extra water in the morning and maybe even pack a healthy lunch. Practice this all week and then add something else in. Now you're one step closer to your big goal and chances are, you won't burn out. 

One of my goals this year is to read 2 books per month. It sounds lofty up front, but when you break it down into simple daily habits it's much more manageable. My daily habit is that I'll read for at least 20 minutes 5 nights a week. Much easier, right? 

Goal achievement is made up of tiny habits and adjustments that we make daily. They may seem small, but trust me, they add up quickly! So, set your goals and then work backwards to create habits and steps that will get you there. I'd love to hear more about your goals and habits in the comments below, so please share! 

xo

Darby 

Banana Chai Bread for Christmas Morning

Imagine walking into your kitchen on Christmas morning to the smell of warm banana and chai as it bakes away in your oven. Doesn't that sound lovely?! Bake up this paleo, low sugar banana and chai bread on Christmas morning and your whole family will fall in love with it! This bread is easy to make (which is a total plus for Christmas morning) and will no doubt be a healthy hit. Enjoy! 

Ingredients ::

1 cup almond butter
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs, whisked
2 chai tea packets (tea spices removed from packets)
3 tablespoons coconut flour
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt


Instructions ::
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together almond butter, pumpkin, banana, and eggs.
Cut open the two tea bags and remove all the tea spices from the tea bags and add to almond butter mixture.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.
Grease a bread pan and then line it with parchment paper.
Pour batter in pan and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Let rest before slicing.

Chocolate Holiday Bark

This holiday bark is the perfect holiday dessert and also makes for an inexpensive, healthy holiday gift for friends! Wrap a few pieces in cellophane and tie with a cute ribbon and you're good to go! 

Chocolate Berry Nut Brittle

Ingredients :: 

1 TBSP honey

1 cup 70% dark chocolate chips

1 TBSP unsalted grass-fed butter (you could use coconut oil instead if you want this to be vegan)

1/4 cup raw, crushed almonds

1/4 cup goji berries

Sprinkling of sea salt

Instructions :: 

Melt butter, honey and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or on low heat in a pan on your stove. 

While the chocolate is melting (don't leave for too long as you don't want this to burn), lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. 

Once the chocolate has melted, quickly pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper. Use a small spatula to spread the chocolate thinly across the paper. It should be thin like bark and not thick like a chocolate bar. 

Once you've spread the chocolate thinly, evenly sprinkle the chopped almonds and goji berries over the chocolate. Be sure to gently press them into the chocolate. 

Place the chocolate in the fridge to harden for about 45 minutes. Once it's hardened, break it up and serve!

Serves 5 

Healthy Holiday Cocktails

During the holidays it's fun to celebrate with friends and family by sipping on a celebratory cocktail. The downside to these holiday classics is that most of them are packed with unwanted sugar and calories. So, instead of sipping on something that you won't feel great about the next day, I'm sharing 2 cocktail alternatives that deliver on taste and better health! 

Mulled Wine

Ingredients :: 

1 bottle of red wine (I like organic Bonterra wine)

2 cinnamon sticks

Zest from 1 lemon

Zest from 1 orange

1 TBSP cinnamon

1/2 TBSP cloves

1/2 TBSP nutmeg

2 TBSP honey

Instructions :: 

Add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan and heat on low for 10-15 minutes. You do NOT want to get this too hot or bring it to a boil. 

Pour the mixture through a strainer into heat proof glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick or orange slice and enjoy!

Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail

Ingredients :: 

2 cups of pomegranate juice (I like Pom wonderful)

1  1/2 cups of lemon-flavored sparkling water

1/2 cup berry-flavored or plain vodka (shoot for organic if you can)

1/4 pomegranate seeds

Instructions :: 

Combine pomegranate juice, lemon sparkling water and vodka in a pitcher and stir. 

Pour in 8 separate glasses and then drop is several fresh pomegranate seeds to garnish. 

Enjoy!

 

 

4 Post-Workout Snacks For The On-The-Go Gal

It's incredibly important that you eat after you workout. Especially if it's an intense, hour long pilates class! Your muscles are tired, you've sweated it out and now it's time to give your body exactly what it needs to get stronger. Without the proper post workout nutrition you'll feel exhausted, your muscles won't rebuild properly (it also messes with your metabolism) and your brain won't be as sharp. When you think about a post workout snack, try to keep it between 150-200 calories unless your workout was really intense. Think, 90 minutes or more with lots of heavy weight or cardio. Also, when you are selecting your post workout fuel, think low sugar and high protein. So girl, it's time to get the proper foods into your body in that post workout moment! 

1. Almond butter with chia seeds - I love this on-the-go snack post workout. It's my go to! Before I leave for my workout I put 1.5-2 TBSP of fresh almond butter in a small tupperware with a little sprinkling of chia seeds. Almond butter is packed with healthy fats and protein to help your muscles recover and chia seeds (Aztec warriors used to eat them for sustained energy and and stamina in battle) are packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fats which are perfect to help give you energy for the rest of your day! If you need a little extra added fuel pair it with 1/2 an apple. 

2. Green juice with a hardboiled egg - Forgot to pack your post workout snack and now you're starving? This is a really easy snack to throw together. Pop into the closest grocery store and grab a low sugar green juice (think Suja or Blue Print with less than 8g of sugar per bottle) and then grab some pre-made hardboiled eggs off the shelf. This great little combo delivers the hydration and fiber your body needs along with a kick of protein and healthy fats from the egg.

3.  Coconut Water and avocado - Yum! This is another great quick and easy post workout snack. Grab some coconut water from your local grocery store; just make sure that you grab a single serving carton because the sugars in coconut water can add up quickly if you drink too much. I like unsweetened Zico or Harmless Harvest. Then, pair that with half of an avocado for added healthy fats which will give you sustained energy. I love this duo because it keeps me full for a couple of hours so I don't find myself ravenous in my morning meetings! 

4. Protein Smoothie - Throw 1 scoop of protein powder (I like vega or a grass fed whey) into your blender with ice, a handful of organic blueberries and/or 1 TBSP of almond butter. The protein powder supplies your body with amino acids to help rebuild your muscles and also helps stabilize your blood sugar post workout. Life hack....make this little smoothie the night before your workout, stick it in the freezer and then throw it in your bag on your way to class. By the time you've worked out, showered and changed it will still be cold but ready to drink! 

Remember, when you think about a post workout snack shoot to get in at least 10g of protein, keep your snack to about 150-200 calories, and celebrate the fact that you just kicked butt in your workout. Go girl! 

How I Use Crystals For Support In My Everyday Life

My home has crystals all over the place. Some are there simply because I think they are gorgeous and go with the decor in the room while others play an important role in balancing energy and bringing power to a space. Crystals are very healing, powerful stones that can have a big impact on how you and your home feel. Here are a few crystals that I love having around! 

Amethyst

My first amethyst was given to me as a bit of a joke by a friend back on my 21st birthday. She said that amethyst was known to help with the intoxicating affect of red wine; perfect for a 21st birthday present. That aside, amethyst is an incredibly powerful and protective stone. It's best placed next to your bed as it will help calm the mind and relax you. It vibrates on a very high spiritual level so it's the perfect stone to accompany you during meditation too. 

Quartz

I have a clear quartz crystal right by my front door as a way to dispel any negative energy that may try to come into my home. Clear quartz is a great way to rid your home or office of stagnant, negative energy. Clear quartz also helps raise energy levels so I carry a small crystal quartz with me in my purse too! 

Turquoise

This gorgeous blue stone is believed to be the bridge between heaven and earth. It is a very protective stone and is also seen as a good luck charm. Place turquoise stones near the front of your home or wear them as jewelry! 

Citrine

One of the largest crystals that I have in my home is made of citrine. It was actually a wedding gift from my parents! This stone is the crystal of light and happiness; perfect as a wedding present! It emits large amounts of positive energy and helps you stay positive and think big!

Blue Calcite

This is a great stone for any home or office as it absorbs negative energy, cleans it and then emits it as positive energy into a space. Place this on your desk or in your office to help with negative emotions or energy. 

 

 

5 Steps to Detox After a Holiday Splurge

Although living a healthy life is a huge part of my mission and who I am, I am a big believer in a good splurge every now and again. I'm a big fan of dark chocolate, I love red wine and ice cream has a special place in my heart. I actually think that indulging in a few special treats (here and there) can be good for you.  First, it helps tame our daily cravings. When we say to ourselves that we are never allowed to have another cookie or piece of candy then all we can think about is the cookie or candy! If we allow ourselves to enjoy those treats every once in a while, then we can get a better handle on our cravings. Second, when we overdo it on unhealthy food or alcohol, we really feel the effects of it the next day. Especially when we've been eating clean. So, it gets us back on the healthy train really quickly and we aren't tempted by those treats for a while. Lastly, life just kinda stinks when we don't allow ourselves to enjoy everything that it has to offer.

So, when you do decide to splurge, here are my top 5 tips to get back on track, fast! 

1. Get in the Sauna :: The sauna heats your tissues several levels deep so it's an incredibly way to deeply detox the body. This deep heat also helps stimulate the metabolism and oxygenate tissues. Try sitting in the sauna for at least 20 minutes and be sure to drink a lot of water! 

2. Drink Warm Lemon Water With Ginger and Cayenne :: Lemon, ginger and cayenne are powerful detoxifiers and really help rev up your metabolism. Drink a glass before you go out to dinner or before a large meal and then follow up with another glass right when you wake up in the morning. I drink this almost every day just to get my digestion started but definitely drink this before and after a night of unhealthy eating and drinking. The ginger in the tea will also help sooth your stomach and ease bloating

3. Get in a Quick Workout the Next Morning :: Even if your workout is really quick, get your heart pumping the morning after a big night. When you get your blood and muscles going they encourage detoxification throughout your body which pushes all of the bad stuff out. Try a pilates or barre class or just get outside for a quick walk or run.  

4. Try Activated Charcoal :: Activated charcoal has been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Western medicine because of its powerful ability to soak up toxins, bind to poisons and improve digestive health. In hospitals today, doctors use activated charcoal to help with overdoses and poison ingestion as well as general bloating and detoxification. I take activated charcoal if I know I'm going to be eating an unhealthy meal or dessert or drinking more than 1-2 drinks at night to help me remove the toxins from my body more quickly. 

5. Sleep :: That's what the holidays are for, right?! Stay in bed an extra hour or two, or do your best to get in a quick nap. Sleep is the ultimate way to detox and rejuvenate your body. Without enough sleep your body is in total crisis mode. Add an unhealthy night of food and drinks on top of that and you're setting yourself up to feel like total crap. 

 

xo Darby

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients 

¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold salted butter (dice it up so it blends easily)
¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
¼ cup honey
½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 350. 

Add the coconut flour, arrowroot powder, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt and baking soda to the food processor. 

Pulse in the butter, pumpkin and honey until dough forms. Then, remove the blade and hand stir in the chocolate chips. 

Scoop dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Dough should make 16-18 cookies. Bake for 10-15 minutes and then let cool completely before eating (they will crumble if you try to eat them right away). Enjoy! 

xo Darby

Turmeric Golden Milk

Turmeric is a deliciously soothing spice that helps keep our digestive system strong (which is great as we head into winter) and also has incredible anti-inflammatory benefits. Whip up this turmeric golden milk before bed to help you properly digest dinner and wind down for bed! 

 

Ingredients :: 

2 cups of almond milk

1 TBSP honey

1/2 packet or pinch of stevia

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 cinnamon stick

 

 

Instructions :: 

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk all ingredients so that they are properly mixed and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Enjoy! 

xo Darby

4 Food Myths to Forget ASAP

There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to food and nutrition. You could google away for hours to get health and wellness tips, only to come up with different answers every time. So, this week, I'm here to set the record straight on a few things so that you can confidently go about your week and make fabulous choices!

 

1. You have to detox with a juice cleanse. 

Juice cleanses are all the rage (as I'm sure you know) but they aren't always the best, or safest way to detox your body. Most juices are packed full of sugar (many times there's just as much sugar as a Snickers bar) plus, you're missing out on protein and fat to help your body recover and repair. Instead of reaching for juices to detox your body, reach for whole veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats. All three together are a much more efficient way to really begin a healthy detox. 

2. Salt is bad for you

Salt is vital for life. You simply cannot live without it. Yet, over the years, salt has been given a bad name due to it being excessively processed and altered. AKA table salt. Table salt, or the added sodium in processed foods, is actually packed with chemicals which completely alter the natural structure of the salt. This type of "fake" salt is really hard on your elimination systems and then also upsets the fluid balance in your cells. This is important because when you can't eliminate toxins or excess fluids from you body it results in cellulite plus that puffy, sluggish feeling. But, himalayan pink salt or sea salt are wonderful forms of salt that are incredibly important for your body. This real salt contains 84 trace minerals and electrolytes that your body needs to perform regulatory and structural functions. So, don't skimp here! 

3. Use honey in place of sugar

Sugar is sugar and honey is mostly sugar. So, if you find that you are adding honey to your coffee/tea, oatmeal, bread, etc throughout the day, take note. Honey is packed with wonderful, healing minerals making it a safer bet than sugar, but don't start dumping it on everything because it will cause your insulin to rise and kick in cravings. Keep it to 1 TBSP max per day. If you are trying to lose weight, take it to half of that. I like to bake with honey vs. sugar because of its healing properties but I still keep the overall dose low. 

4. A calorie is a calorie

Eating 150 calories from a snickers bar is not the same as eating 150 calories worth of kale. While the snickers bar may taste better, it's not giving your body any vital nutrients, and instead, is just pumping you full of sugar. When you ingest that snickers bar, your bodies immediate reaction is to raise insulin levels and react with inflammation. This leads to a crash, cravings and eventual weight gain. When you pump your body full of a nutrient like kale, you are delivering vital nutrition to your body that it truly needs. When your body is actually getting the vitamins and minerals that it craves, cravings and crashes subside leaving you fuller longer. So, not all calories are created equal. It's much more important that you feed your body with the right kinds of foods instead of focusing on the calorie count that comes along with it. 

xo Darby

 

Fall Butternut Squash Soup

Warm up with Fall with this yummy butternut squash soup and "corn" bread! It whips up in no time and delivers on nutrition. Enjoy!

Ingredients :: 

Serves 4

1 whole butternut squash chopped (comes out to about 4 cups)

1 whole white onion

2 TBSP coconut oil

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp salt

1 quart organic chicken broth

Toppings :: rosemary, chopped walnuts and/or extra pumpkin pie spice!

Instructions :: 

Heat coconut oil in a pot and then add chopped onions.

Add salt and pumpkin pie spice and then sauté onions until golden brown. 

Add chopped butternut squash and chicken stock to the pot. 

Boil the butternut squash in the chicken stock until tender. 

Pour mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth (careful it's hot)!

Pour evenly into 4 bowls and serve with toppings of your choice! 

I also love to pair this with this delicious "corn" bread recipe compliments of Danielle Walker from Against the Grain!

Skillet "Corn" Bread

Ingredients :: 

Serves 8 to 10

1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil

3/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup raw honey

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

5 eggs

2 1/4 cups blanched almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
 

Instructions :: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the palm shortening in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet, then pour the melted shortening into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, or use an electric handheld mixer. Place the cast-iron skillet back on the stovetop and keep on low heat.

Add the almond milk, honey, and vinegar to the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in after each addition. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Pour the batter into the hot cast-iron skillet.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean when. Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack and serve warm.

Once the bread has cooled completely, tightly wrap it in the pan and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serve it chilled, or reheat it in the pan in a 300°F oven for 15 minutes.

 

xo Darby