March Seed Planting Tutorial

It’s spring, the weather is changing, colors are starting to pop, and you might be asking yourself how to get a garden started. While you won’t want to plant outdoors until after the last frost has passed, this is the time to start your seedlings for a full summer garden. Want to garden indoors 24/365? Check out my vertical growing site here.

Meanwhile, you can watch the video below…

Healing Power of Smoothies

Ever wake up with a jolt of cortisol and race right into your to do list for the day without thinking of fueling your body and brain? Maybe you grab an energy bar or just head out the door with a dose of caffeine only to find yourself short on patience and stressed by mid-morning. Did you know that making a smoothie can be a perfect way to boost servings of plants and get you off to a healthy start to your day as fast as eating a muffin with a much better nutritional profile!

Drinking our food like in a smoothie is very healing on our gut and delivers a fast nutritional punch to our body. It’s partially digested which gives our body a rest, sending energy to other areas. Sometimes, like when we are sick, our body can really benefit from the ease of sipping on a plant-based power drink. Smoothies can be customized to your liking and specific needs as well. It’s an economical way to use up ripe produce like bananas and other fruits. Throwing in a handful of spinach or other greens packs in phytonutrients and enzymes found in those foods.

What’s the difference between a juice and a smoothie? Blending our plants and including the fiber and protein has the benefit of including all the vital parts of the plant. You can even include seeds and a bit of the peel of most fruits. In fact, the skin of a pineapple is where the most concentration of bromelain is found, include a little sliver in your next smoothie. Lemon peel is a great source of Vitamin B and gives your smoothie a fresh, revitalizing flavor. When we juice plants, we are taking out the bulk of the fiber which is an important part of the plant that we tend to be deficient in because of our highly processed diets. I’m a fan of the Vitamix, however any blender that will pulverize greens and berries will do.

Remember to add a healthy fat to your smoothie to make it more satisfying and support your brain. Some good examples are coconut oil, avocado, nut butters, and seeds. If you find your sweet tooth appearing on an evening or afternoon, try making a themed smoothie like chocolate, banana, peanut butter, instead of reaching for packaged snacks that won’t serve your body nearly as well. Adding in the extra fiber from plants can help to remodel your gut quite quickly and you might find those cravings staying at bay.

I like to keep a plant-based protein powder on hand to boost the nutrition of my smoothies, and for an easy shortcut when I’m busy. My favorite is Juice Plus Complete chocolate which I blend with frozen cherries, nut butter, and spinach regularly.

Many of the most common health challenges that we experience like heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes could be prevented or bettered by smoothing out the blood sugar spikes that come from a high sugar, low fiber, processed diet. Leveraging the power of produce and streamlining our morning routine with a daily smoothie assists our body in protecting itself and staying in balance.

How would your day be enhanced with the simple habit of a daily smoothie?


This is one of my favorites, and the bright green color is stunning – good enough to drink!

Making Mindful Food Choices

I want to ask you, how are you taking care of you?

Today more than ever our personal wellness is a top priority, and for most of us, it’s up to us to maintain our health. Nutrition, stress management, and mindfulness are crucial aspects of our health that we have control over. Can you identify an area that you want to put more focus on to improve your overall wellness?

Be mindful to include these categories of superfoods into your diet…

Go Green – Choose organic salad greens and herbs.

Go Blue – Eat a variety of organic berries for the richest source of antioxidants.

Go Nuts – Include raw, unsalted nuts and seeds into your diet. A serving size is a handful.

Go Fish – Eat 2 6oz servings of Wild Pacific Salmon each week for sufficient Omega 3. Or you can add a plant-based Omega supplement.

Simple Snacks

Keeping your blood sugar in the zone of willpower can keep stress at bay. Have smart snacks at your fingertips to grab. Making a nibble tray with cut up fruits and veggies along with some raw nuts is a great way to get a variety of healthy foods into your diet. Include healthy, clean dips like hummus and nut butter for more variety. Shakes make a great breakfast or snack throughout the day also, packed with lots of produce!

Super Food Brain Boosting Smoothie

1 C unsweetened plant milk
1/2 C frozen blueberries
1/2 peeled frozen banana
1 Tbsp nut butter
Handful of spinach
Dash of cinnamon

Scoop of plant-based protein powder (I use Complete by Juice Plus+)

Blend and sip throughout the morning for an immune boosting, gut healthy breakfast, or recovery meal.

Eating with mindfulness exercise inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh

Every time we eat can be an opportunity to embrace the gifts that surround us. When we allow ourselves to slow down and have gratitude for our food it naturally reduces stress and brings more joy into our lives.

  1. When you eat or drink recognize the food you are ingesting as nourishment for your body and a miracle.
  2. Consider all that went into this food, the people who prepared it, and the plants & animals that it came from.
  3. Observe gratitude for this food and moment that you are experiencing.

Now, can you feel the freedom and joy that comes from being supported and nourished by this food?

A great place to start is by taking notice of the food you are eating and recognizing how you feel when you eat.

Are you mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth between meetings or in the car before pick up? My wake up call was when my 10 month old said “french fry” as one of her first words because we were running through the drive through so often out of sheer desperation.

The first step for me was to realize that fake food and poor nutrition was zapping my energy and contributing to constant colds for my family. Once I got a handle on the importance of a diet rich in a variety of plants and clean protein and gained some skills like making smoothies regularly everything began to shift. This personal shift eventually led me to become a health coach because of the power that I found in lifestyle and nutrition. I wanted to pay it forward in hopes of impacting another busy mom’s life. Reach out if you would like to chat about your specific health concerns and feel free to check out the blog for more ideas to make health simple.

Best of health,

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About The Author

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Suzy is a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, researcher, and a mom who specializes in empowering busy professionals and families who lead fast paced lives to have optimal health. She has worked in the field of nutrition for the past 18 years and bases her coaching on the 4 pillars of health L.E.A.N. Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition. Suzy has expertise in pinpointing the causes of work-related stress and how it impacts health markers. She incorporates nutritional healing into her plans with clients to heal from the inside out.

Positivity Works

Check out my take on how positivity works with regard to our health and how to put it into practice in your everyday life.

With my science background I like to geek out on research and found it interesting that there are numerous studies published talking about the benefits of allowing positivity to guide your life.

In a study done at the Mayo Clinic they found that positive self talk was correlated with enhanced cardiovascular health, longer lifespan, and improved immune function.

Can you think of an area in your life that could use a positive reframing?
Best of health!

Maximize your food prep by doing these simple things

One of the reasons that I love to coach people in their health is to empower busy people with simple nutrition hacks and tweaks in their diet that maximize the nutritional power of the food we eat.

The CDC recommends that we get 3 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruits (5 cups total produce) each day into our diet to improve our health and prevent disease. Here are some of the highlights from foods that I recommend, and ideas to help you get that goal.

I hope these tips help you to increase your IRAH (Individual Retirement Account for your Health) Enjoy!

Cruciferous veggies – Think crunch, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale are cancer fighting powerhouses!!! They release even more power when they are cut and lightly cooked. Pig out on crucifers!

Cocoa – Pure organic cocoa powder contains polyphenols that contribute to decreases inflammation and helps support brain function. Heating it will harm the antioxidants so warm gently and do not use the microwave.

Nuts and Seeds – Great source of prebiotic fiber, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Your palm is a good measurement for a serving size, and you want to eat them raw and unsalted. Pepitas, green pumpkin seeds, make a nice topping for soups or salads.

Omega 3 – An essential nutrient to get from food because we have to have it and our body can’t make it. Wild Pacific salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, Brussel sprouts, and sea vegetables like algae are your best sources.

Ginger – Grate fresh ginger into your tea, sauces, and dressings for a flavorful twist and to sooth digestive distress. Ginger can be used in recipes both savory and sweet and pairs especially well with lemon and curry.

Onions – Antimicrobial, rich in Vitamin C, and other antioxidants that support immune and cardiovascular function. Used to be given as a gift and used as currency because of their many health properties!

Lemon – Great for your immune system and loaded with vitamin C. Naturally detoxifying and a staple for marinades and dressings. Use the peel for extra B vitamins.

Peppers – Source for A, C, E, folate, and B vitamins which makes them especially helpful for healthy eyes, heart, and during pregnancy. The red peppers have a higher concentration of vitamin C.

Apples – Fiber rich and loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols, vitamin C, and copper. Find a new variety to try and definitely eat one every day!

Greens – a cup is a serving size, and all of the different varieties offer unique benefits for your health. Add a little crunch with romaine and mix in a blend of baby greens to give you some different tastes. I like to add spinach to the bottom of my bowl when I serve soup or chile.

Berries – Flavonoids are some of the antioxidants in berries and they are protective for DNA and help circulation. Blueberries are considered the brain berry and can be added to smoothies or salads.

Organic vs Conventional Produce Guide

Dirty Dozen+ (Top to buy organic)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Clean Fifteen – (Lowest in pesticides)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew Melon
  15. Kiwi


Stress Busters, Super Foods

Eat Your Stress Goodbye – Stress Fighting Foods

We have all felt the anxiety that has come with the virus in our midst and all the life changes that have occurred over the past few months through the pandemic. Now it is time to turn our attention toward battling that beast with some powerful foods!

When you are stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this is not a good permanent solution.

When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress!

Foods that Fight Stress

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.

Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:

  • Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
  • Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
  • Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime so
    other, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.
  • Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
  • Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
  • Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
  • Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.


Putting Together Your Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.



A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries
Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit and a handful of pistachio nuts
Lunch: A fresh salad filled with plenty of leafy greens, whole grains like quinoa, crunchy veggies and avocado. Dress with a drizzle of olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate and walnuts
Dinner: Wild salmon with lightly sautéed vegetables and quinoa
Before bed: Chamomile tea

Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good template! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.

For a deeper dive into the role that stress is playing with regards to your wellbeing, look at my stress test here

Connect with me at to book your FREE 1 hour nutrition coaching session – a $90 value!

Best of Health!

4 Healthy Eating Tips for the New Year To Practice

A New Year has just begun and it’s the right time to think about your resolutions for a healthier you. If you are guilty of indulging in junk food and rich carbohydrates because of a busy lifestyle then now is the time to make the change. Believe me, incorporating healthy eating tips into your everyday is not as complicated or tough as it sounds and with a bit of innovative thinking, preparing meals can actually be fun.

I’ve been a Health Coach for years and I can tell you that losing inches off your waist, feeling more energetic and maintaining a healthy BMI begins with small baby steps. Here are my top 4 highly recommended healthy eating tips you can put in action starting with your next meal:

Mindful Eating

A lot of the times, we pile our plates high with food and gulp down everything without even remotely tasting what we are eating! Eating mindfully means using all 5 senses to appreciate the food in front of you, sticking to smaller portions and enjoying every bite. When you eat mindfully, you allow your mind and body to absorb maximum nutrients without over-indulging. You’ll face fewer instances of bloating, feeling stuffed or even indigestion.

Eating Regularly

When you skip meals frequently, your body naturally goes into a state of energy and fat conservation. It means that the next time you eat something, you are likely to overeat for sure because the brain isn’t certain when you will consume your next meal. Think of a polar bear saving up all its energy during hibernation. Eating irregularly also hampers with your body metabolism and triggers off the onset of many lifestyle diseases. Breaking down your meals into 5-6 smaller meals which are spread throughout the day ensures that your body is never devoid of fuel to function.

Go Slow on Sugary Foods

White sugar is often called a ‘silent killer’ and can be highly addictive too. Forget what your favorite brand of cereal says about it being ‘healthy’ for you and focus on what actual nutrition you give your body per 100 grams, just by studying the nutrition label. Sugar gives the brain a quick high and that ‘feel good’ feeling we love, which could be one reason why it is added to so many packaged foods. Slowly replacing sugary foods with healthier alternatives like fruits, jaggery and maple syrup for a touch of sweetness is one of my favorite healthy eating tips.

Prep Meals Yourself

Cooking for yourself and for your family does not have to be this huge ordeal that you go through mentally and physically. The Internet is full of easy to put together recipes that require minimal effort and which do not compromise on taste or nutrition. One of the most important healthy eating tips I can give you today is to take the time to understand whether the food you eat every day is medicine for your body or a slow poison. Planning what to cook ahead of meal-times gives you time to cut, grate, dice or blend the ingredients and store them in the fridge. You’ll feel more satisfied enjoying the flavors of a home-made meal than a frozen store bough dinner.

Did you know that according to a survey conducted in 2018, 60% of Americans wanted some form of health coaching and healthy eating tips but didn’t know who to ask? If you too have been thinking about enjoying the benefits of total wellness and didn’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m here to help you begin the New Year on a much healthier and happier note. So, write in or call me and let’s do this together!

Beat Hereditary Diseases Today

Hereditary diseases are often studied very closely by experts in the medical field. The fact that humans can pass on a number of inherent traits to their children through their genes, by itself appears to be nothing short of a miracle. So while there are some characteristics such as the colour of the eyes or hair that are easy to point out, its just as difficult to say what kind of hereditary illnesses have been passed on to the next generation merely by looking at outward appearances.

Hereditary Diseases Examples

Here are some of the most commonly found hereditary illnesses that are usually passed on from one generation to the other:

  1. Diabetes or insulin resistance.
  2. Heart diseases and high blood pressure.
  3.  Cancer
  4. Neurological illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
  5. Other medical conditions like premature baldness, arthritis, obesity or speech disorders.

Although science would say that certain genes of hereditary illnesses that are passed on would invariably show up sometime or the other in a person’s life, there is no need to despair if you have any of these illnesses in your family. One of the greatest gifts of the human body is its ability to heal itself and to ward off both diseases and illnesses when given the right tools. Irrespective of what stories and facts your genes may have to say about you, living a healthy life is not impossible.

L.E.A.N In

One size does NOT fit all and my wellness programs have been designed keeping this simple truth at its very core. I tailor make a program for you that addresses those areas in your life that need to be worked on. The four mantras I believe in include:

Lifestyle– A healthy lifestyle is so important in getting the best out of life itself. The right habits and the benefits of healthy living will have a huge impact on both your personal and professional life.

Exercise– It’s true that exercise does wonders for both the brain and health. You don’t need to train for a marathon but by finding the workout that best suits your body type, you’ll soon enjoy great health.

Attitude- Negativity does nothing for the mind and soul whereas the right positive attitude can take you far in life. Developing a positive attitude can help you build resilience and mental toughness.

Nutrition– There’s a difference between eating to stay full and eating to give your body the right nutrients it requires in order to function properly. The right diet chart for you will empower your body from within.

Shine Health Total Wellness 365

Wellness isn’t a journey or a transformation for a month or two; rather the positive benefits of a good wellness program should be experienced year after year. If you’re ready to make changes to your every day in every aspect of your life, then you are certain to feel a number of positive benefits come your way. Most importantly, you wont only feel a change in your physical and mental health, but you’ll also learn how to deal with stress effectively with a series of personal coaching sessions from me.

I’m here to tell you that hereditary diseases do not need to ruin your life and with the right guidance and positive outlook, you can reverse the clock from today onwards. Get in touch with me today and let me help you take the first step towards optimal health.


Natural Foods That Boost Serotonin

Also known as the ‘Happy chemical’, serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter in the body which silently plays a number of roles which directly and indirectly contribute to your well-being.


What Does Serotonin Do

  1. Well, for starters it helps the body adjust and re-adjust its internal clock by regulating your sleep-wake cycles.
  2. It helps you to keep you happy and your spirits ’lifted’.
  3. This chemical has a big role to play in your social life (read the way you behave with others) too.
  4. It also silently has a big impact on digestion, memory and even on one’s sexual appetite.


Its Other Face

Here’s the scary part- low levels of this happy chemical have been linked to depression and if the body is unable to produce serotonin in adequate amounts, many other symptoms may also be noticed. High anxiety, feeling ‘blue’, sudden aggression, lack of appetite and even insomnia have been linked to low serotonin levels in the body.

So now that we’ve established that normal levels of this happy chemical are so essential to being your best self, here’s the good news- It’s very much possible to get your daily boost of serotonin just by eating the right foods! Trytophan which is used by the body to make serotonin is found in many protein sources.


7 Foods To Elevate Serotonin Levels


So, we knew that salmon ranked high when it came to omega 3 fatty acids which give skin a natural glow and also make the brain smarter. But did you know that eating just two portions of salmon per week could keep you happy inside out? Yes sir, it most definitely can!


Eggs have been getting quite a rap for being bad cholesterol boosters and the like but the fact of the matter is that, one boiled egg when eaten with the yolk can not only put your body into happy chemical production mode but also give your health so many other benefits. Don’t miss out on them by just eating the egg white.


There’s a reason why eating a slice of pizza makes you feel so fulfilled and it’s all thanks to the cheese. Yes, cheese does have plenty of saturated fat which is why I advise eating it in controlled portions but when you do cut yourself some cheddar or brie, savor every bite because you’ve made your inner self very happy.


Vegans rejoice! Soy is an excellent source of tryptophan so if you’re feeling blue and just not up for anything, sip on some chilled flavored soy milk or just shallow fry a few cubes of tofu. Soy helps boost the production of hormones in the body and gives you plenty of easily absorbed calcium too.

Nuts & Seeds

So, you said no to a slice of hot buttered toast and reached out for a handful of mixed nuts instead. Good for you! Nuts are probably one of the most underrated healthy snacks you could enjoy guilt free primarily because they contain so many healthy fats which help your body. Plus, not to forget they have so many vitamins, trace minerals, antioxidants and even fiber that keeps your serotonin levels high.

Nutritionists say that your body is able to absorb tryptophan better when healthy protein is eaten with a helping of good carbohydrates. So make sure that you serve wholesome grains, leafy veggies, pulses or legumes at mealtimes so that the food you cook truly nourishes the body from within.