Real Food Roundup: Some favorite tips, tricks, and recipes by this year’s challengers

I am so proud of all of our Challengers who just completed our Real Food, Real Fit! program and the successes they achieved in just a matter of weeks. The Challenge was meant to be a re-set for the body and mind through improved digestive function and nutritional status using only whole foods. Only 6 weeks later and participants are reporting  wonderful results like weight loss, steady energy and mood, looser-fitting clothes, feeling full and satisfied between meals, and finally kicking the sugar habit!

Special congratulations to those of you that completed all the requirements for our $50 cashback bonus! 

Cathi, Nancy, Don, Amy, Becca, Kat, Katya, Jake, John (and Janet), Kelly, and Lynn — YOU ROCK! 

Throughout the course of the program, Challengers experimented with new foods and actively participated in sharing their own tips, tricks, and recipes.  While I love hearing about the wonderful results after the challenge, the shared ideas and unique discoveries is by far my absolute favorite part of all this!

Checkout some of the finds by a few of this year’s group challengers:

Amy shared some words of wisdom for creating her (and Don’s) always perfectly poached eggs!

For poached eggs, you simply need to add a splash of white vinegar. It keeps the whites from spreading. Make sure the heat is on medium and the water is only filling about 1/4 of the pot. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down to medium. Add vinegar and salt. Then add eggs (one at a time, very carefully). I like a 4 min. egg. Don likes 5 min. 30 sec….

We all agreed, Amy and Don’s eggs were always on point!

John found an interesting combo of oatmeal with breakfast sausage (or bacon), berries, and some maple syrup.

I know what you’re thinking, it seemed a little strange to me at first too, but if you’re into that perfect blend of savory and sweet, then this might be a winning dish for you!

Korlynne and Tricia mastered one of my own all-time-favorite “meal in a bowl” techniques.

You know I mean. That super quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious bowl of leftovers, bowl of soup, salad bowl, burrito bowl, breakfast bowl, bowl of YUM ?!
The possibilities are really quite endless!

Jake and Kat found the secret to enjoying healthy Mexican takeout (corn free!) with a simple and delicious sweet potato “chip” recipe perfect for guacamole dipping!

Slice sweet potato thin and evenly, spray with olive oil and salt, then bake in oven for approximately 30 min. 

This time around, besides the plethora of delicious and nutritious meals she created, Cathi perfected her chia pudding recipe (the trick is using full fat coconut cream!), embraced collard wraps and all the tasty things that can be stuffed into them, and scoped out the best compliant sauces, dips, and combos. She even created a spicy margarita mocktail that might hit the spot for you during your next Real Food happy hour!

I have to give credit to Cristina for one of my new finds this challenge.

For years she’s been singing praises for Peruvian beans because of their mild, buttery taste and creamy texture.

I’ve always kept my eyes open for them, especially after seeing more of them in her meal pictures but never came across the variety when shopping. On a quick stop at a small market less than a mile away from my house (Santa Cruz market for you locals), I happened upon these beans in the bulk section and I was thrilled to finally get to try them.

I soaked them overnight then threw in my instant pot with onions, celery, carrots, bone broth, and plenty of Italian herbs and spices. 30 minutes later I served the stew over
sautéed kale and my life is complete.

I know, it’s kind of ridiculous that I can get this excited about a bean, but if you’ve read some of my other posts you know I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to delicious and nutritious* food. Real food I mean. Foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, minimally processed and unrefined so that their nutrients remain intact.

Try opening mind and your mouth to the bounty of whole, real foods available to you for 30 days and then tell me, how do you NOT get excited about delicious foods that also nourish you from the inside out?

* If you tolerate them, beans are a great dietary staple. Not only are they a wonderful source of B vitamins and minerals (like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc) but they are also a great vegetarian source of fiber and protein!




This post is dedicated to one of my Golden Gears crew, Ron Freese, 83 who we lost on February 17. When I would ask him if he read my newsletter, he would reply “only the ones where you write about food”. He was a tall, talented artist and will live forever in my memories as our favorite class clown. Farewell, old friend.