Women’s Crash Course for a Healthy Menstrual Cycle

by Holistic Nutrition Coach/Chef Abigail Wiley BCHN, HWP, AAS Culinary Arts

Click here to grab my free 6 ingredient or less recipe ebook!

Hey ladies, let’s talk about our hormones. I often wonder why we aren’t given a crash course on how our hormones work in school. I, like many young ladies, have struggled with all sorts of hormonal imbalance. In fact, from the first time I got by period in high school, my cycle was never regular. It started out as just irregular and over the years I pretty much didn’t have a period at all. I thought, “hm this is weird, I should probably go see someone.” So I went to an OBGYN and she assured me that it’s actually fine to even have only 3-4 periods a year and that if I wanted, I could go on birth control. Being naive I just took her advice and did nothing different. My symptoms continued to get worse and it wasn’t until I started studying Holistic Nutrition that I realized, none of what was happening in my body was normal! Common maybe, but NOT normal. I am still to this day so blown away that a doctor who is supposed to know all this stuff told me I was fine and offered birth control as my remedy. Sadly, this happens every day, clients and friends come to me all the time who were told the same thing and almost all of them are on birth control with all the underlying imbalances sitting in the background! I’m here to tell you, that you can balance your hormones with food and dietary changes. I know, because I DID!

In this post we are going to discuss what a healthy cycle should look like, feel like, and how to eat and exercise and eat in sync with our hormones. You’ll also get four easy recipes to eat at different periods of your cycle! Let’s dive in! 

Menstrual Phase- Week one

Day one is defined as the first day of bleeding and starts the menstrual phase which lasts for about five days on average. Every woman is different but a healthy cycle should last between 28-32 days. The body has realized it’s not pregnant and estrogen and progesterone levels have dropped to their lowest. Bleeding occurs from the uterine lining shedding to reset itself. This hormonal dip can cause energy to be lower and is a great time to focus more inward and not expend a lot of energy on exercising or social activities. Women may find themselves overthinking, second guessing themselves, or really getting in tune with themselves. Activities such as yoga, stretching, walks, journaling, and diaphragmatic breathing are all great options at this time. This is not the time to schedule important meetings, social events, big projects etc if possible since these activities will be very draining. We’ll get to the optimal time for that! It’s also very important to focus on lots of clean water (I suggest starting with half your body weight in ounces of filtered or water from a well), minimizing caffeine (see a yummy caffeine-free drink below), and making time for rest. Another note on water, it is very important for your hormones to drink clean, remineralized water. Tap water is one of the WORST things you can do for your hormones. It’s full of chemicals, chlorine (which kills good gut bacteria), pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, even birth control! Do yourself a favor and invest in a good water filter (I like Berkey or Kangen) or at the minimum refill water jugs at the store with reverse osmosis water. It is also important to remineralize your water. Filtering takes out a lot of the trace minerals our bodies were designed to operate with when it filters out the bad too. Remineralizing is easy! I use the Trace Minerals Drops by Trace Minerals Research. Click here to order through me at a discount (you will have to make a user and password since this is a private service I offer). You can also find Trace Minerals on Thrive Market and some health food stores. If you have well water, this is great and usually full of minerals from the earth!

Like I said, the menstrual phase can last for about five days or so and ends when bleeding stops.

Follicular Phase- Week 2

Days six through about 13 is defined as the follicular phase. Estrogen is steadily increasing while progesterone lays low. The rise in estrogen may provide higher energy. This is a great time to fit in those tougher workouts such as strength training, running, HIIT, etc. During this period a woman may find it easier to lose weight and complete detoxes. At this point in her cycle, a woman may find herself in her creative zone and this is a great time to take advantage of new experiences and form new ideas. While estrogen is increasing, so is luteinizing hormone (LH). LH helps the ovaries to develop follicles which hold the immature eggs that will be released during ovulation. Food-wise, light foods are great as appetite is likely not as high. Fun fact, all sex hormones are derived from cholesterol so cholesterol is especially an important nutrient during this time of hormone increase (but all the time too). Cholesterol is a type of fat in animal products so think egg yolks, pasture-raised beef, chicken, pasture-raised dairy (ideally raw and A2 protein dairy- here’s a great article on A2 dairy), etc. Foods like salads, smoothies, veggie bowls, and meals consisting of protein and vegetables are all great options! This is the time to have fun and have more flexibility with meals!

Ovulatory Stage- usually right in the middle of a woman’s cycle

Ovulation is the halfway point in a woman’s cycle occurring approximately days 14-16. This is when the egg has the opportunity to become fertilized and Estrogen peaks out giving the body feedback that it is time for Progesterone to rise as well. A rise in Progesterone stimulates a surge of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). I want to note that without a peak in estrogen, all these other hormones cannot peak either and this can be a big issue for fertility and a healthy cycle. 

During the ovulatory stage, basal body temperature increases and women can measure this first thing before getting out of bed to help determine when ovulation is occurring! The increase in temperature will not be a lot, between just 0.2-0.5 degrees more so testing temperature throughout the cycle is a great way to establish a baseline. Again, the high amount of hormones may leave a woman feeling full of energy and vitality! This is a great time to get things done, plan meetings, take care of phone calls/other communications, and be social. She may also feel more sexy and aroused, just nature’s way of trying to procreate! This is a great time to eat raw and cruciferous foods to help the liver keep up with the surge of hormones and detoxify the excess estrogen. Light exercise is a great option during these couple days and through the third week of the menstrual cycle. 

Luteal Phase- Week 4

This phase occurs when the egg is not fertilized and begins to break down. Estrogen is low during this phase and Progesterone begins to lower as well. A sudden drop in hormones can cause PMS symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, bloating, cravings, tender breasts, etc. If a woman is experiencing PMS symptoms, this is the best time to test hormones to determine what is going on. Proper testing is key! I use at home saliva and urine tests to help my clients get to the bottom of what’s going wrong. A poor ratio of estrogen to progesterone is usually a culprit of PMS symptoms and is called estrogen dominance. Even if estrogen is not elevated or is low but there is a poor ratio of estrogen to progesterone, symptoms can occur. Progesterone is a hormone that makes us feel good and calm. Progesterone is a precursor to our stress hormone cortisol so when a woman is living in a constant state of stress whether it be from emotions, injury, gut dysbiosis, infection, heavy metals, and so much more, the body will use progesterone to be able to handle that stress. During this time, it is best to support the body with tons of vitamins and minerals and avoid acting on cravings for salt, sugar, and alcohol which will deplete the body and aggravate PMS symptoms. Hormone levels continue to decrease until they bottom out and the cycle starts over. During this time, medium intensity workouts are a great option and can help the body with detoxifying excess hormones and increasing energy naturally. Water, fiber, protein, minerals (especially magnesium and zinc), and b vitamins are all beneficial for aiding liver detox, boosting energy, and supporting PMS symptoms. 

I want to repeat this, women who struggle with PMS, infertility, thyroid imbalance, etc do not have to! There is an underlying stressor affecting the body and these symptoms are it’s way of showing that. I work with women to get to the root cause and rebalance the body through simple steps starting with food and lifestyle changes. If you are ready to not feel like the version of you with fill in the blank symptoms, don’t wait any longer, you deserve better! Book a FREE 15 minute consult with me to get started on your path to wellness.

Let’s talk about some recipes to use for each phase! Check out my recipe subscription for more hormone supportive recipes!

Menstrual Phase- Week one

Golden Milk 

Serves 1

This recipe is full of anti-inflammatory herbs to help ease some discomfort during menstruation. Cinnamon and cardamom are carminative herbs which are helpful for easing digestion and gas. And the black pepper is helpful to help the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric get absorbed in the body! Lastly, I love adding collagen which is high in amino acids that support the gut and healing. If the gut is not healthy, there is definitely going to be hormonal issues eventually since toxins and unwanted proteins from food will seep into the blood and trigger a stress response which we talked about steals progesterone from a woman’s cycle! Remember, this is a period where the body needs rest and this is the perfect cozy drink to relax with! 

  • 1/2 c (4 oz) coconut milk or any clean non-dairy milk beverage
  • 1/2 c canned full-fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest Simple)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, organic
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric, organic
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom, organic
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper, organic
  • ½-1tsp raw, local, unfiltered honey (to taste)
  • 1 scoop of collagen powder (use code ABBY10 for 10% off)*

Steam the coconut milk with a steam wand until hot then add a little to a mug. Stir in the rest of the ingredients then the rest of the milk. 

OR

Warm all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium- low heat. Stir occasionally and heat until warmed through. Pour into a mug and stir some more then enjoy. 

* Collagen is full of amazing gut-supportive amino acids that us women need for healthy hormones!

Follicular Phase- Week two

All sex hormones originate from cholesterol. During this stage, hormones are on the rise, so fitting in healthy sources of cholesterol is a great choice to support hormone production! 

Eggs and Tzatziki

  • 2 over easy eggs, pasture raised, organic
  • 3-4 T Tzatziki (recipe follows)
  • Roasted sweet potato yams or toast
  • Arugula
  • Feta, optional
  • nitrate free, pasture-raised ham, optional

On a plate place the arugula, yams, eggs, feta, and ham. Drizzle the tzatziki over top and enjoy! 

Tzatziki recipe: 

  • 1c non-dairy yogurt- I like foragers cashew yogurt or grass-fed goat yogurt if you are tolerate dairy. Authentic tzatziki is made with goat yogurt.
  • 1c cucumber, grated
  • ¼ c fresh mint and/or dill chopped (I like a mixture of both)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Olive oil as needed to thin

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Grate the cucumber either using a food processor grating attachment or with a cheese grater. Salt heavily with some sea salt and allow to sit so the cucumbers can release their moisture. 
  2. Working with one big handful at a time, squeeze the grated cucumber between your palms over the sink to remove excess moisture. Transfer the squeezed cucumber to a small serving bowl, and repeat with the remaining cucumber.
  3. Add the yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, and garlic to the bowl, and stir to blend. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and add additional chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, and/or salt, if necessary. I don’t add salt until the very end because the cucumbers are salted in the beginning step. 
  4. Serve tzatziki immediately or chill for later. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days and the flavor improves after it has sat in the fridge so it is great to make ahead. 

Ovulatory Phase- Week three

Asian Chopped Salad

Makes about 8-10 servings- feel free to half

During this phase hormones are peaking. The liver is working on overdrive to properly process all these hormones and needs sulfur to do so! This salad is full of sulfurous vegetables and fiber to help with liver detox and elimination via stool.

For the Salad

  • 1  small cabbage- or ½ purple and green
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • 1 bunch of chopped green onion
  • Lightly toasted almonds
  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced, optional
  • 1c Chopped green snap peas, optional
  • 1 bunch of radishes, chopped, optional
  • Cooked chicken or chickpeas
  • Toasted almonds*, chopped or sliced
  • Sesame seeds (I think black are pretty), this is optional
  • Asian dressing (recipe above)
  • Dressing: 
  • 1/2 c avocado oil 
  • 6T  organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • 3T-¼ c  honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ c organic tamari
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ginger, dried 

    Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender except the oil. With the blender still running, gradually add the oil. This helps emulsify the dressing better.

OR

In a jar add all the dressing ingredients and shake like crazy! 

Chop/shred all veggies. I like to use the food processor to help and also to further break down some of these vegetables that can be harder to digest. 😉 I also make sure to fully chew each bite of this salad to help with digestion. Toss all the veggies together and store in a large container for the week. Once you are ready to eat, pull out the amount of salad you want, top with chicken, toasted almonds, sesame seeds, and the dressing. Enjoy! 

To make this into salad jars: 

In mason jars add 1 T of dressing for a pint and 2T of dressing for a quart jar. Add the salad mix, then the chicken, then the nuts/seeds on top. When you are ready to eat, dump everything out onto a plate and toss together with your fork. 

* To toast your own almonds, place almonds on a baking sheet and dry roast at 325℉ until fragrant and lightly toasted 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and stir as necessary. 

Luteal Phase- Week four 

Sesame Crusted Salmon w/Chinese Five Spice and Broccoli Rice

Serves 2

 It is extremely important to support blood sugar during this phase and continue to support liver detox so that excess hormones can exit the body! Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that helps with detox. Remember this is the phase where women commonly see PMS symptoms. Focusing on quality protein and fat to stay satiated and stave off cravings is a great idea and salmon is full of both! Salmon is also high in anti-inflammatory omega three fatty acids which may help with discomfort during this stage! 

  • 2 (5oz) Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon filets, boneless, skin on 
  • 3T white sesame seeds
  • 1 T black sesame seeds 
  • 1 tsp mustard (any will do this is just to bind the sesame seeds to the salmon) 
  • 1T + 2tsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil 
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt 
  • 1 head of broccoli 
  • ½ an organic lemon 
     

Trim the broccoli to just the florets and the tender inner stem. Pulse in a food processor until it resembles the shape of rice. 

Heat 1 T of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil slides easy across the pan, add the broccoli rice. Cook undisturbed for four minutes then stir and cook another minute or two. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. 

To a wide, shallow bowl or a plate add the sesame seeds, five spice, and sea salt. Mix to combine. 

Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel then smear mustard on the skinless side. Dredge in the sesame seed mixture to coat. 

Heat a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat and add about 2 tsp of oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot and slides easily across the pan, carefully slide one salmon filet skin down across the oil to coat all of the skin, then lay down on one side of the pan. Repeat. Sliding it across the pan in the oil helps prevent sticking. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until it flakes easy. 

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the salmon. Serve with broccoli rice. 

Thank you so much for reading! I love helping women rebalance their hormones through simple dietary and lifestyle changes. Health is too complicated these days, What helped my hormones was simplicity and balance and I believe that to be true for other women struggling with PMS, infertility, absent periods, heavy periods, thyroid conditions, you name it! If you’d like support getting your body back to feeling it’s best, check out my coaching packages or recipe club! I can help you! 

In Health, 
Abigail Wiley, HWP, BCHN, AAS Culinary Arts
Holistic Health Coach and Chef

chefabbalina.com
@abigaileholistic

Hi! I’m Abigail! I’m a huge food and nutrition geek! When I’m not coaching clients 1:1, you’ll find me playing with my sweet almost 1 year old son, spending time with my husband, or making a huge mess in the kitchen developing recipes for my recipe club! I am so amazed by what our bodies are capable of when in balance and the power of simple recipes and lifestyle practices. Symptoms are just our bodies’ way of telling us something is off and needs corrected. I want to offer to you that you don’t have to live with your symptoms of low energy, hormone imbalances, autoimmunity, digestive problems, behavior issues, fill in the blank, anymore! I can help you! Click here to learn more about my 1:1 coaching offerings! Thanks for being in this space with me! Be well!

Getting To The Root Cause of Thyroid Complications

by Holistic Nutrition Coach/Chef Abigail Wiley, HWP, BCHN

Hi ladies! Today we are talking about something crucial to women’s health- the thyroid. The thyroid plays a key role in metabolism, weight management, temperature regulation, bowel patterns, hair and skin health, sexual health, and so much more! A lot of women come to me with thyroid issues and it seems like thyroid conditions are becoming more and more common. In fact, many doctors may tell women it is common and totally normal! I’m here to tell you, common does NOT mean normal. There is a reason that the thyroid is suffering and women DON’T have to live with it! 

**Quick disclaimer- I cannot provide any medical advice, this post is for educational purposes only.

In order to correct underlying thyroid issues, we first need to identify where things are going wrong. This is why proper testing is SO important. Often doctors only run TSH and/or T4 as preventive tests. This is not effective at catching thyroid issues before they happen or determining the real problem. A more in depth thyroid panel should include: Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3, Reverse T3, TSH, and TPO Antibodies. Testing all these markers will help determine where things are going wrong. Let me show you why!

-TSH- this is not actually a thyroid hormone. It stands for thyroid stimulating hormone and is released by the pituitary gland to tell our thyroid to create thyroid hormone or slow down on making thyroid hormones. Contrary to what sounds right, a low TSH would indicate hyperthyroidism whereas a high TSH would indicate hypothyroidism (low thyroid). We want this number to be between 0.5-2.0 ideally to be catching any thyroid imbalances! We need a healthy pituitary and adrenal glands for optimal TSH. Yup, I’m talking about stress management!

– T4 is made by the thyroid but must be converted to T3 to be used. To make T4 we need many nutrients including Selenium, Tyrosine, and Iodine. These are all very easy to get from food sources! It’s important to know that heavy metal toxicity and other toxin exposures can interfere with levels of selenium and iodine and contribute to low thyroid.

-T3 is the usable thyroid hormone. We need a healthy liver and kidneys for optimal conversion of T4 to T3.

– It’s important to test all the forms of T4 and T3 including TOTAL T4 and T3 and FREE T4 and T3 as the “free” means the hormone is not bound to a protein and is usable by the body. Only a percentage of Total T4 will be free T4 and the same with T3 so this helps us see if something is getting hung up in that conversion process. 

-Reverse T3 is also helpful- some of T4 is converted to reverse T3 as a safety measure to maintain homeostasis but it is inactive and not usable. 

-TPO antibodies can help us determine if there is an immune reaction happening, causing the thyroid gland to be under attack. Fun fact- to the body, gluten protein and thyroid tissue appear the same. This means that if the body is launching an attack on gluten because of a sensitivity or leaky gut, then it’s likely going to also attack the thyroid. For this reason, it is crucial that women with Hashimoto’s eliminate gluten from the diet and get to the bottom of immune system triggers and gut issues.

So as you can see this is very complex and not every thyroid issue is a problem with the thyroid. We need a healthy liver, signaling from the adrenals/pituitary gland, proper minerals, amino acids, etc to make the whole process work. Proper testing can help us see where the issue lies. 

I hope this helps! If you’re dealing with a thyroid issue and would like help or don’t have access to proper testing, email me at abby@chefabbalina.com or book a 15 minute call. More info about my 1:1 coaching services under the “work with me” page here on my website.

In health,

Abigail Wiley, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition
Virtual Holistic Health Coach and Chef

chefabbalina.com
@abigaileholistic

Hi! I’m Abigail. I’m a wife, mama, Holistic Nutrition Coach, and Holistic Chef. I received my AAS in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of Montana. After studying Culinary Arts, I knew that I wanted to serve individuals and families by improving their health through food. I then went on to study Holistic Nutrition, Health Coaching, and Herbalism at Hill College where I became certified as a Holistic Wellness Professional. I’m also Board Certified In Holistic Nutrition through the NANP. Food and nutrition has always been in my nature growing up on our small family farm. Today I serve my clients through 1:1 coaching sessions over the course of three-six months. We go on a journey to re-establish the cornerstones of good health through dietary and lifestyle habits and work our way up to rebalancing the body to reach vitality. A lot of women come to me with thyroid and hormone imbalances, autoimmune conditions, digestive upset, PMS, concerns about their kids’ behaviors, low energy, etc. I also offer a low cost recipe membership where I share weekly recipes and meal plans to support health without top allergens or inflammatory ingredients. Members also have access to a folder of hundreds of recipes, mini cookbooks for pre/postnatal, no-sugar recipes, and baby-led feeding recipes. I’m working on some others for hormones, candida, and gut too! Lastly, I offer cooking demos as well as support from me! This club is all about empowering members to find an abundance outlook on mindful eating and especially help out anyone working with me 1:1 or other practitioners. 

RESOURCES:

https://draxe.com/health/hyperthyroidism-vs-hypothyroidism/

https://eatnakedkitchen.com/thyroid-101-understanding-the-butterfly-gland/

 

Chocolate No Bake Grain-Free Granola

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Ready for the easiest granola recipe? This grain-free refined sugar-free, dairy-free, no-bake chocolate granola will blow your mind. All you need is a handful of simple ingredients. Let’s go through them, but before I do, I wanted to let you know about my FREE 6 ingredient recipes ebook! You can download that here!

First off you’re going to choose your favorite nuts/seeds. My personal favorite combo is almonds, cashews, and pecans but you can choose whatever you have on hand or like. Flaked coconut is also a yummy option. Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and protein as well as vitamins and minerals our body needs to function optimally. They are pretty dang low in carbs so they are great for healthy blood sugar!

Next for sweetness you’ll use some dates. Dates are delicious, full of minerals, and fiber to keep you regular.;) Dates allow us to sweeten this granola without any added sugar, just natural sugar from fruit! Sugar in whole food form really is the best since it comes packaged with the nutrients like minerals, fiber, and vitamins that ease digestion like nature intended. 

Next you’ll need some 100% dark chocolate. I like to use chocolate chips for ease of melting. By using 100% dark chocolate, again we can avoid adding extra sugar. Dark chocolate has so many health benefits including its high antioxidant content! Antioxidants protect our cells from damage that leads to chronic illness and cancer and also assists liver detox in this same way. 

Last is just some sea salt. I love salted nuts and salted chocolate and so this is just the perfect finishing touch to bring all the flavors alive. 

How to eat this granola…

I love adding this granola to unsweetened dairy free yogurt with berries and honey. It’s also a great little snack on its own or on top of a smoothie bowl. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe! This is one of my favorites from the Eat Well Be Well Recipe Club in which I teach busy people how to cook wholesome recipes that ditch diet culture and processed ingredients. MORE INFO here

Chocolate No Bake Grain-Free Granola

  • 1 ½ c nuts, I like ½ c each of almonds, cashews, and pecans
  • ½-¾ c pitted deglet noor dates (depending on how dark you like it)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt 
  • ½ c 100% cacao chocolate chips 

In a food processor pulse the nuts, dates, and salt until crumbly. 

Line a baking sheet or glass storage container with unbleached parchment paper. 

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or very low heat. A little trick is to turn the heat off before it’s all melted and allow the residual heat to finish melting the chocolate as chocolate is very delicate and is burned easily. 

Add the nut mixture to the chocolate and combine to get a homogeneous mixture. Place the granola on the baking sheet. Allow to cool completely so that the chocolate hardens then break apart with your hands into chunks to resemble granola. You can speed this step up by placing the granola in the freezer or fridge to harden. 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you did, I’d love for you to check out my FREE 6 ingredient or less recipe ebook! Click here to grab it!

Be Well,

Abigail

Nutrition Coach/Recipe Developer

chefabbalina.com

@abigaileholistic

VEGAN EGGNOG

Eggnog is a holiday staple! I’m excited to show you in this post how to make a plant-based version at home in minutes! Whether you are plant-based or not (I am not), you will LOVE this recipe!

Plant-based or vegan means that the recipe does not contain any animal products. Traditional eggnog contains dairy from cows and eggs. Personally, it sort of grosses me out to think that I am drinking eggs, I don’t know about you. Lol.

Dairy and eggs can also be top allergens for a lot of people whether it be an immediate reaction or delayed “intolerance” reaction like bloating, low energy, brain fog, or headaches.

With this simple recipe you will just need a short list of simple ingredients.

First, Cashews. You will begin by soaking cashews for at least four to six hours in filtered water. This is to soften the cashews so that when they are blended they yield a creamy eggnog without cashew chunks. Cashews are desirable for this recipe because of their high fat content which imitates the creaminess of eggnog.

Dates- You will also throw in some dates with your cashews for soaking. Again, soaking softens them up a bit so that they blend smooth. Dates add a hint of natural sweetness because we all know that eggnog must be sweet!

Full-fat coconut milk. I prefer to use Native Forest Simple because it does not contain any gums or fillers, just coconut and water. Using canned full-fat coconut milk adds an extra rich and creamy texture to compliment the cashews. Full-fat canned coconut milk is much thicker than coconut milk beverage.

Nutmeg. Ground nutmeg is the star flavor here. You can’t make eggnog without nutmeg!

Vanilla Extract- Vanilla enhances the flavors of this recipe and adds a touch of sweetness too.

Maple Syrup- After I’ve blended everything, I add maple syrup just to taste.

Equipment. I prefer to use my Almond Cow dairy-free milk machine. It speeds up the process, yields a creamier product, extracts more flavor, and is wayyyyy less messy to clean up. If you don’t have an Almond Cow and aren’t ready to purchase one, I get it! You can also use a high powered blender and a nut milk bag.

If you enjoyed this post and would like weekly recipes as well as access to hundreds of healthy recipes that are gluten-free and dairy-free, be sure to check out my recipe club subscription!

Vegan Eggnog

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  • 1 c raw cashews, soaked at least 6 hours in filtered water
  • 4 c filtered water, plus more for soaking
  • 1 T nutmeg powder, organic
  • 4 dates
  • 1c full fat coconut milk
  • 2T maple syrup, or more dates
  • 1T vanilla extract, gluten free
  • Small Pinch of himalayan sea salt

Click HERE for a video demo!

Almond Cow version: 

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. 
  2. Add 4 c of filtered water to the pitcher. 
  3. Add the cashews, dates, salt, and 1 T nutmeg to the filter basket. Screw on the lid and run the machine through 2-3 cycles (in other words push the button 2-3 times total). 
  4. Add the full fat coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk well. Taste and add more sweetness or nutmeg to your taste. Pour into glasses and serve with additional nutmeg sprinkles on top if you prefer. Store in an airtight glass jar. 

Blender and Nut milk bag version: 

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. 
  2. To a pitcher add 4c filtered water, the cashews, dates, salt, and 1 T nutmeg. Blend well until smooth then use a nut milk bag to strain into a glass measuring cup. 
  3. Add the full fat coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk well-if the coconut milk has too many solid pieces you can rinse the blender and blend to make it smooth. 
  4. Taste and add more sweetness or nutmeg to your taste. Pour into glasses and serve with additional nutmeg sprinkles on top if you prefer. Store in an airtight glass jar. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and can make this recipe soon! If you haven’t already joined my recipe club, I’d love to have you! This is a great place to have healthy recipes that are delicious right at your fingertips! As a member, you will receive new weekly recipes and meal plans as well as 24/7 access to 100s of recipes organized by folder. My recipes focus on gluten-free, dairy-free, and unprocessed ingredients for health. CLICK HERE for more info!

As always, thanks for reading! If you make this, be sure to tag me on instagram or facebook @abigaileholistic

Be well,

Abigail

Holistic Nutrition Coach/Chef

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which Abigail E. Holistic earns a small commission for referring tried and tested products. Please be assured that I only suggest products I’ve personally tried and love and truly want to pass that on to others for good health!

Dairy Free Candy Cane Milkshake

Growing up, we would make candy cane milkshakes during the holidays. The ingredients were simple- vanilla ice cream and candy canes. Now that I’m older and understand the negative health effects of red food dye, conventional dairy, gums, artificial flavors, etc, I have set out to reinvent this recipe I love!

If you’re here, you probably prefer to enjoy real food ingredients as well, whether it be for you or your kids/family. That’s why I’m excited to share this recipe with you!

With my recipe, you can avoid all the junk in store-bought ice cream (yes even dairy-free which is deemed healthier is full of tons of junk). You will also be able to avoid red food dye and artificial flavors. Red food dye has literally been proven to disrupt the endocrine system, neurological system, and contribute to allergies. You can read more info on red food dye on EWG’s database here.

For this recipe you will only need a number of simple ingredients: full-fat coconut milk, peppermint flavor, dye-free candy canes, and maple syrup.

My favorite brand of coconut milk is by Native Forest. They make a version that is gum free.

My favorite brand of candy canes is by Yum Earth. They are still made of sugar but do not use any artificial food dye.

For the smoothest, best results, you will want to use a high powered blender to make this. I prefer to use my Vitamix or Ninja blender.

Candy Cane Milkshakes

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Makes two small shakes 

A day before you want to make the shakes, freeze full-fat canned coconut milk into 14 ice cubes. 

To make the shakes, in a blender combine the coconut milk ice cubes, room temp coconut milk, maple syrup, and peppermint flavor. Pulse or blend on low to start blending. Once almost smooth, break the candy cane up as much as you can with your fingers and add to the blender. Blend until smooth with tiny tiny chunks of candy cane. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking. 

Pour into cups and top with additional crushed candy cane if you wish! 

I hope you can make some yummy candy cane milkshakes soon! Be sure to snap a quick pic and tag me @abigaileholistic.

Thanks for checking out my blog! If you like what you see, please share with someone you think could benefit from my recipes as well! Thanks for the support and love!

In health,

Abigail, BCHN

Nutrition Coach/Recipe Developer

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which Abigail E. Holistic earns a small commission from. Please be assured that I only suggest products I’ve personally tried and love and truly want to pass that on to others for good health!

Chocolate Sunbutter Chia Pudding

This recipe puts the chocolate peanut butter combo to shame! (But if you’re a die hard Reeses fan you can also use peanut butter here).

Chia pudding is so simple, you won’t believe it! Simply combine non-dairy milk, chia seeds, sweetener, and other flavorings in a mason jar and shake, shake, shake! Leave it to set up for a bit and voila! Make it ahead or enjoy in the moment. 🙂

For this chia pudding, you’ll make two different flavors of pudding- one with raw cacao, and one with sunbutter! To serve- alternate the different flavors of pudding so that each bite yields the perfect pairing of chocolate and sunbutter! I also like to top the pudding with a layer of runny sunbutter (which I like to think of like caramel) and seal it all in with a layer of melted and cooled dark chocolate!

Of course this is all extra but is it really? Haha. It’s a beautiful presentation and fun to take a spoon and break through the chocolate layer which also adds some chunks of chocolate into the pudding too! Yum! 

Sunbutter is made from ground sunflower seeds and has a lot of health benefits! It is commonly used as a paleo alternative to peanut butter because of its delicious but somewhat similar “roasted nut” taste! Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E (an antioxidant to protect the body against chronic disease) and are not as problematic as far as allergies/intolerances go like peanuts are. Sunflower seeds are also high in protein and healthy fat! 

Chia seeds are definitely a healthy superfood! One of the biggest benefits is their high fiber content. In America we don’t generally get enough fiber into our diets due to the refining of food and lack of fruit and vegetables. Fiber is crucial to efficiently move food through our digestive system as well as to excrete toxins and excess hormones (via feces). Chia seeds also offer protein and omega three anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Their high protein, fat, and fiber content is perfect for satiation (staying full) and also helpful for stabilizing blood sugar. For this reason, I believe chia pudding is suitable for a healthy snack, breakfast side, or dessert!

Another bonus, chia seeds make for an excellent pudding because they soak up liquid beautifully without the need to cook the pudding at all! This pudding is literally no hassle at all and like I said, you can meal prep it!

I love adding unflavored collagen to further amp up the nutrition too. Collagen contains amino acids that complement the amino acids in chia seeds super well! This makes the pudding a great source of “complete” protein! The amino acids in collagen also support the hair, skin, nails, gut lining, bones, and connective tissues! As we age, the body’s ability to manufacture collagen decreases. In the past, our ancestors used to eat nose to tail. Today we do much less of this and therefore do not obtain collagen through diet like we used too. My favorite is the Perfect Supplements brand because they test for heavy metals and contaminants and it is such high quality! You can use my discount ABBY10 for 10% off!

I hope you soooooo enjoy! Let me know what you think! Tag me @abigaileholistic on Instagram or Facebook!

Chocolate Sunbutter Chia Pudding

Serves 1-2

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Ingredients:

In one mason jar or bowl combine ½ c of coconut milk, 2 tsp of maple syrup, 1 T of sunbutter, one scoop of collagen, and 2 T of chia seeds. Screw on the lid and shake until everything is mixed well. Allow to sit for five minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate layer. In another mason jar, combine the remaining ½ c of coconut milk, cacao powder, vanilla, sea salt, 1 tsp of maple syrup, another scoop of collagen, and 2 T of chia seeds. Screw on the lid and shake well to combine. Allow to sit for five minutes, then shake up again to redistribute the chia seeds. 

Give the sunbutter chia pudding another good shake to redistribute the chia seeds and then place both jars in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight to set up. 

When ready to serve, grab two cute glass jars or bowls, if taking on the go mason jars work great! For each jar, layer the chia pudding in this order: sunbutter chia pudding, chocolate chia pudding, then sunbutter chia pudding on top. 

Spread one tablespoon of sunbutter on top of each jar of chia pudding. I like to think of this as like a caramel layer. Mmmm

Melt the chocolate chips over very low heat or a double boiler.

Carefully pour half the melted chocolate into one jar on top of the sun butter and spread around to cover completely. Repeat with the other jar. 

Top with cacao nibs and sunflower seeds while the chocolate is still melted and then place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden the chocolate. You can serve this now or make it in a mason jar to take on the go later! These will keep in the fridge for at least a few days if not longer! Enjoy! 

NOTES:I love the Pascha 100% dark chocolate chips or the 85% dark chocolate chips. This company tests for heavy metals which is common in chocolate. If you are paleo and want a sweetened chocolate chip, I suggest the Hu chocolate chunks or the Thrive Market ones. They use coconut sugar to sweeten.

I’m so thrilled to be able to share my recipes with you via my blog! Food is medicine and it is also fun! I’m passionate about teaching others how to cook for health, ease, and flavor! That’s why I created an online recipe club subscription where I share weekly recipes, meal plans, and provide access to hundreds of recipes organized by meal category. I’m a busy mama and wife and I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands just like most of us, but this doesn’t mean we have to compromise our health or nutrition. If you’re interested in receiving my weekly recipes and meal plans or receiving 1:1 nutrition coaching, email me at abby@chefabblina.com for more information! I also offer

In health,

Abigail

Holistic Nutrition Coach/Chef

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which Abigail E. Holistic earns a small commission from. Please be assured that I only suggest products I’ve personally tried and love and truly want to pass that on to others for good health!

Sources: My powerpoints from Nutrition School at Hill College of Texas

Cacao Protein Yogurt Dip

This is the perfect little pick me up snack, healthy dessert, or party food! It comes together in minutes and packs in protein from collagen and plenty of vitamins and minerals that work synergistically with the collagen to be absorbed and utilized by the body! BONUS! Additionally cacao is a sustainable energy promoting food that will provide a burst of energy without the crash! I love to add in cacao nibs for some yummy crunch too! And lastly, yogurt is full of gut supportive probiotics!

Personally I love Perfect Supplements Collagen and Acerola vitamin C powder because I know they are tested for heavy metals and contaminants as well as produced safely and effectively! (use code ABBY10 for 10% off). I also love Navitas cacao powder for the same reason. As far as yogurt goes, I love using dairy free vanilla Foragers, Culina, or GT’s cocoyo yogurt. They are all coconut based and so delicious!

Here’s the recipe!

Cacao Protein Yogurt Dip

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  • ½ c df vanilla yogurt, unsweetened (I like Foragers, Culina, or GT’s Cocoyo)
  • 1 T raw cacao (I prefer Navitas because they test for heavy metals)
  • 1 scoop Perfect Supplements Collagen Powder (use ABBY10 for 10% off)
  • ¼ tsp Perfect Supplements acerola cherry vitamin C powder, optional (vitamin C enhances the absorption and production of collagen)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Maple syrup or honey to taste, optional
  • Cacao nibs
  • Sliced fruit- My favorites are oranges, strawberries, banana, raspberries, mango, and kiwi 

Cut up the fruit and transfer to a plate or platter. 

Combine all the yogurt, cacao, collagen, vitamin c powder, salt, and sweetener if using in a small bowl and transfer to a cute serving bowl with a spoon. Top with cacao nibs. Dip the fruit in the dip or if it’s just you eating it I like to cut up the fruit into small pieces and just add it into the yogurt and eat with a spoon! 

I hope you enjoy and feel nourished! If you make this be sure to tag me @abigaileholistic . Check out my virtual cooking club and blog for more healthy recipes!

In health,

Abigail

Nutrition Coach/Chef- Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition

Cinco De Mayo Recipes

Happy Cinco De Mayo! What would this holiday be without some delicious, festive food huh? Below I’m including 3 sweet mexican inspired recipes to celebrate this holiday.

First one, Mexican Hot Cacao! I love my hot cacao for many reasons. One, it gives me a little energy boost without the negative effects of caffeine. It also has tons of antioxidants and I’m able to add additional nutrition like collagen and reishi mushroom powder because the cacao flavor is so strong. And lastly, it can be made with many different flavors and this version is the bomb! It gets a hit of spice from the cayenne and a warm gentle spice from some cinnamon.

MEXICAN HOT CACAO

Serves 1

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Warm the milk with a steam wand or over the stovetop. Stir in the rest of the ingredients to dissolve. Taste and adjust the flavor. Enjoy! 

The next recipe is a yummy horchata! I made this using my almond cow dairy-free milk making machine! I make my own dairy-free milk every week and this machine has seriously saved me so much money and hassle, not to mention being able to avoid all the gums and preservatives added to store bought milk. Click here to check out the almond cow and receive a discount!

Horchata is a sweet, cinnamon-ey rice milk drink that is soo creamy and delicious! I found this recipe on the almond cow website and sort of made it my own.

HORCHATA

  • 5c filtered water
  • 1c almonds soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 3 dates (pits removed; can substitute with 3 tbsp maple syrup) + additional maple syrup to taste
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Make the almond creamer- fill the collector cup with 500ml (about 2 c) of filtered water and pace in the base of the almond cow. Add the almonds to the filter basket and secure to the lid. Attach the lid to the base and push the button on top. Push the button again to run one more cycle- I like doing this to get an extra creamy creamer.

Remove the almond pulp from the filter basket and save for another use. Add the almond creamer to the base of the almond cow along with the rest of the water (up to the minimum line), and a pinch of salt. To the filter basket add the rice, dates, and cinnamon. Screw the filter basket into the lid and secure the lid to the base. Press the button to begin blending and then press it again once the first cycle is over to run it again. Lift the lid off. Taste the horchata and add more maple syrup to taste.

Serve in glass cups with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top!

The last recipe is these super cute Sombrero Sugar Cookies. I am also including a churro flavored option! These are mostly paleo, if you count grass-fed butter as paleo!

SOMBRERO SUGAR COOKIES/CHURRO COOKIES

recipe adapted from paleorunningmama.com

churro cookies

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  • ¼ c grass-fed butter
  • 6T maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c coconut flour
  • 2 c almond flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp himalayan sea salt
  • Sprinkles
  • Macadamia nut halves
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut sugar

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and maple syrup together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Then add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Leave the dough to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight. 

When you are ready to bake the cookies make sure to have all your supplies ready and the oven preheated to 350 so the dough doesn’t get too warm. Working with a little dough at a time, roll out in between to pieces of parchment paper to ¼ inch thickness. Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut circles. Lift the circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet, peeling the excess dough off as you do this. Add one macadamia nut half to each round then carefully place sprinkles around the perimeter of each circle to resemble a sombrero. 

Bake for 7 minutes then remove from the baking sheet immediately with a spatula. Allow to cool and enjoy! 

For the Churro cookies…truth be told I didn’t measure how much cinnamon or coconut sugar I added, I kinda went by taste since I got burnt out on making the sombreros and did this flavor for the rest of the dough. I would suggest starting with around ½-1 tsp cinnamon and 2 T of coconut sugar for about half the dough if you are going to make half sombreros and half churro flavor!

I hope you enjoy these recipes! Let me know what you think and be sure to tag me on facebook or instagram @abigaileholistic!

Enjoy your holiday and happy baking!

In health,

Abigail

Nutritional Health Coach/Chef Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition

@abigaileholistic

How to roast garlic and why everyone needs garlic in their life

GARLIC! 
Garlic is such a nutritious and delicious food isn’t it? Besides its benefits for making anyone seem like a pro chef, garlic is so helpful for sickness and ailments. Read on to find out what I’m talking about and join my virtual cooking club for more recipes! (See menu tab labeled virtual cook club).

Garlic is anti-microbial, modulates the immune system, promotes circulation, feeds the good gut bacteria (prebiotic fiber), supports liver detox and methylation, and helps alleviate bronchial congestion amongst other benefits! A master herbalist I learned about in nutrition school, Rosalee De La Foret explains how all these actions help out our bodies in times of sickness! Eaten regularly, garlic helps us stay well. Raw garlic can be used with honey or oil to soothe sore throats. Garlic in raw or supplement form can help kill off bacteria causing cold or flu-like symptoms. It may also lessen the symptoms. Rosalee also explains that garlic’s spiciness thins mucus helping it to be expelled from the body. Garlic oil can also be used for ear infections! You can read more about all the great benefits of garlic and tips to use it for specific issues on her website here.

I personally love cooking with garlic pretty much daily and always reach for garlic supplements when I’m trying to avoid getting sick or trying to overcome sickness! If you’re interested in looking into a great garlic supplement to have on hand, I’m excited to say I can offer a wide-variety of top brand supplements for you to shop at 10% off through my online fullscript dispensary! I’m also happy to answer any questions you have or offer suggestions. To check it out, click here and email me with questions at abby@chefabbalina.com!

As far as cooking goes- I have a few quick tips to use garlic. First off, I always suggest chopping garlic 5-10 minutes before cooking. This is because garlic (and onions actually) contain sulfur-containing phytonutrients that are great for detox and methylation and when garlic is cut, these phytonutrients mix with oxygen and convert to compounds that can more easily resist heat and benefit the body! Chopping garlic finer and letting it sit longer both multiple this effect. 
Raw-garlic is so delicious raw in small amounts in recipes like pesto, salsa, and chimichurri!

Roasted Garlic– check out how-to with pictures below! Roasted garlic has a sweet, caramelized flavor that will add depth to many different dishes. Here’s some ideas of how to use it: spread on toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and flaky sea salt, use in hummus, mix with yogurt and herbs to make a dip, add to grass-fed butter with herbs and cream in a mixer to make compound butter for bread, add to pizza, add to soups or pasta, mix into mashed potatoes or any mashed vegetable (like cauliflower or celery root), add to roasted veggies, make a salad dressing, add to salsa

Garlic powder– I love adding garlic powder to roasted white sweet potatoes, dressings, soups, and really any vegetable dish that needs some pizzaz.

Sauteed garlic– add chopped garlic to soups, sauteed vegetables, pasta sauces, etc for a great flavor base

HOW TO ROAST GARLIC!! It’s soooo easy!

Whole roasted garlic:

1. Carefully with a large knife cut about a 1/4 of the top of a whole head of garlic to expose the cloves.

2. Drizzle with avocado oil, sprinkle with salt, then wrap in foil.
Bake at 350 for one hour.
Allow to cool then squeeze out the garlic cloves using your fingers by starting at the root side and moving up. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Individual roasted cloves of garlic– spread individual cloves with the skin still on out on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool then use your fingers to unwrap the garlic cloves from the skin.  minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
NOTE: roasting individual cloves will yield a more choppable garlic clove with a deep, caramelized flavor versus the whole roasted garlic which will be softer.  

I hope you enjoyed learning all about garlic and its many benefits! I’d love to connect with you and help you along your health journey! As a holistic nutritional health coach, my goal is to share knowledge, resources, and encouragement for individuals to find optimal health for themselves. I help clients find food and lifestyle habits that support their goals and lifestyle. Besides one-on-one virtual coaching sessions I also offer an extremely inexpensive virtual cooking club where I share healthy recipes and do cooking demos. Check it all out right here on my website or email me at abby@chefabbalina.com to connect! Make sure to also follow me on instagram and facebook for extra health tips and recipes @abigaileholistic.

In health,

Abigail

Holistic Chef/Health Coach

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Collagen Balls

Recipe created by my amazing foodie friend Lanina, check out her instagram @colorfulsuperfoodie for more health supportive recipes!

Alright y’all raise your hand if you love protein bars? Bars are the perfect snack to take on the go for quick energy that sticks with you. The sad truth is that almost all popular bars on the market are really just a concoction of processed, non-health supportive ingredients. For example soy and whey protein isolate- the amount of processing in a lab it takes to turn milk into powdered whey protein isolate (and same for soy and other powders) is awful. Also, these are isolated ingredients meaning the vitamins and minerals needed to utilize the protein in the body are stripped away, causing vitamin and mineral stores in the body to be used instead- not good.

Then we have the flavoring ingredients. Anything from rice syrup to invert cane sugar. Again these are very processed and foreign to the body. Additionally companies will add ”natural flavoring” which in and of itself discloses nothing about the ingredients used. Thousands of chemicals can hide behind those words. I’d also like to point out that most bars have multiple sources of sweeteners and flavorings and often its the first ingredient- meaning its the main ingredient and full of sugar.

Lastly we have the preservatives and binding ingredients that really do our bodies no favor and could even cause undesirable symptoms like bloating. Carrageenan and insoluble fibers are some examples.

The last downside is bars are extremely expensive when you consider $2 + per bar!

I share all this with a solution! Making your own energy/protein bars are extremely easy and so yummy! My friend Lanina who developed this recipe is a pro at this so definitely check out her instagram @colorfulsuperfoodie!

These easy Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Collagen Balls contain only pure, natural ingredients.

Here’s the recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Collagen Balls

Ingredients

Directions:

  • In one bowl combine the pumpkin puree, cashew butter, melted coconut butter, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine the collagen, almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt. Mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well to get a thick-stick texture.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Roll into about 15 balls. Store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.

NOTES:

*I prefer the Perfect Supplements collagen. Its sourced from grass-fed pasture raised cows and tested for heavy metals. Most collagen powders have toxic amounts of the heavy metal lead! You can check it out here. Use code ABBY10 for 10% off!
**The USDA requires almonds to be pasteurized. Sadly most companies use chemicals to pasteurize. To find steam pasteurized almonds its always worth giving the company a call or buying organic. I’ve found it difficult to find organic almond flour so I purchase it in bulk from Natural Grocers which only sells steam pasteurized almonds in their bulk department and most of the store.

***I love the pascha 100% dark chocolate chips. They have sweetened chocolate too if that’s too dark! Pascha tests for heavy metals- lead and cadmium can be super high in chocolate. So far I’ve been able to find these at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods or amazon.

I hope you enjoyed this post and can make this recipe soon! For more health supportive tips and recipes check out my instagram and Facebook (username @abigaileholistic), join my virtual cooking club on Facebook, or check out my health coaching practice!

In health,

Abigail

Holistic Health Coach, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition Candidate


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products which I make a small commission off of. These are products that I have thoroughly researched and use myself therefore I want to share!

Sources: Powerpoints from my Nutrition Class at Hill College of Texas