Unlike most folks, I was brought up in a household that focused on homeopathic healing, digestive health and meditation.
You’d think that with such a great upbringing in holistic healing that I’d have it all together by the time I was an adult, right? Well, that wasn’t the case. By my mid-twenties I was burned out and feeling sick all the time. I was in desperate need of inspiration and guidance.
Then, right when I needed her most, I reconnected with my old friend Robyn Youkilis. She had just graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and had launched an awesome career as a health coach. We connected deeply through our shared love for healing, spirituality and health.
But little did I know that Robyn would one day be my gut guru.
Over time Robyn began to gently guide me toward greater physical health. She helped me in countless ways. But best of all, Robyn became my personal recipe book.
I’m so psyched to share that Robyn just published her first book, Go With Your Gut: The Insider’s Guide to Banishing the Bloat with 75 Digestion-Friendly Recipes. In it she tackles one of the most important health issues of our time: gut health. I can personally testify to this! Committing to cleansing my gut and then rebuilding the natural flora cleared up my skin completely, reenergized me and boosted my immune system to the point where I never get sick.
My soul sister Robyn will offer you everything you need on your divine journey toward healing. Plus, there is no one in the world who can be quite so cute, brilliant and respectable while saying the word poop!
I wanted to give you a sneak peek of her awesome book, so I sat down with Robyn for a candid Q&A! Learn how she quit diets for good, the importance of actually chewing your food, and the one simple thing you can do TODAY for better gut health.
You were able to get off the diet cycle and now coach thousands of women around the world to do the same. Can you share your story with us?
RY: The dirty truth is, it wasn’t long ago that I was really miserable in my own skin. I was constantly trying to find the trick that would fix me. I swore off all breads and carbs forever one month. I attempted to skip out on my friends’ invitations to dinner the next. I tried to live solely on green drinks and smoothies, and even though I totally knew better, I took “holistic” supplements that promised to help me lose weight. I was fed up with my body and how I couldn’t seem to keep myself from hanging out in the kitchen cabinets at night. I found myself obsessing about dieting and my body even more than I had before.
No matter what crazy diet I tried, deep down I felt that my outside was not a reflection of who I knew myself to be on the inside. What I discovered is that when I tried to fix my outside, I was exhausted by the constant chatter going on in my brain: “Is it okay to eat that? What if I just have a little? God, you suck! Well, we’ll start again tomorrow!” I was carrying around excess pounds of emotional and physical baggage. I didn’t even know where to begin.
I ended up going to nutrition school (thanks to a loud and clear gut instinct) and learned how to crowd out the food noise and listen to my body, and I experimented in the kitchen like crazy (and now get to share all those recipes with you in this book!). All that I have achieved in my adult life is a result of cleaning up my food, cleaning up my gut and therefore being able to live my life from that place of intuition — because everything is flowing, moving and clear. (And yes, we are pooping well, too.)
You talk about discovering “food freedom.” Can you tell us more about this?
Yes! This has been a tool that I’ve used with my clients for years with amazing results. We often look at food as the enemy, an inconvenience or truthfully not at all. Food freedom comes from slowing down and actually paying attention to the fact that you are about to eat. Try these 3 simple steps to discovering food freedom:
Step 1: Look. First up, go and grab a piece of food. It only needs to be a couple of bites. Now completely look at your food. I can totally feel you rolling your eyes, but think about it for a moment: When was the last time you allowed your eyes to take in the experience of eating? Eating is a complete sensory experience, and if we don’t include one of our most vital senses, our sight, we are out of touch with the idea that we have eaten.
Step 2: Breathe. Now breeeathe. Taking a good, deep breath brings you back to the present and allows you to feel like you’re in your body again (which is necessary because you’re about to use your body to eat!). Feel your belly expand and release and the gentle ahhh that comes with that simple action.
Step 3: Chew. Chewing is so important that I devoted an entire chapter in Go With Your Gut to this subject. For this practice, chew each mouthful completely before swallowing (i.e., until it becomes liquid). When you chew your food until it becomes liquid, you’ll feel full for longer, your stomach will likely be flatter, and you’ll be skipping around from all the energy you’ll have without a single diet change! As I always say, “your stomach doesn’t have teeth,” so don’t expect it to do your chewing for you.
So, what is the connection between cleaning up our guts and our lives?
How we digest our food is how we digest our lives. There is a connection between a powerfully functioning gut and a powerfully functioning “gut instinct.” I believe that we each are our own greatest teachers but often that internal wisdom is hidden behind a whole lot of junk. Cleaning up your gut allows you to tap into that sense of connection to your innermost self and intuition much more readily, so that you can make those choices that are best for you.
Every powerful right action I’ve ever taken in my life has come from that intuitive place: the moment I saw my husband, when I enrolled at nutrition school, moved to L.A., back to NY and back again, every travel adventure I’ve taken. In Go With Your Gut, I teach readers how to clean up their digestive systems but also how to listen to that inner voice. And if you preorder the book by February 4 you’ll receive a bonus video on intuition with even more tips on how to connect with your gut!
What’s one thing I can do today for better gut health?
I said this before, but I’ll say it again: Chew your food! This one simple practice has the power to completely change your relationship with food, and with your body. We pay so much attention to WHAT we eat but so many of us totally overlook the HOW, which is just as important. Food that cannot be digested (i.e., anything you swallow that isn’t chewed thoroughly), is not necessarily eliminated, which results in bloating, weight gain, and inflammation.
And if I had to pick one food it would be to add in raw, fermented foods like sauerkraut. I love fermented foods and strongly recommend them for all of my coaching clients. When I started eating them, so many of my digestive health issues like bloating and feeling so blah after meals started to magically disappear (as well as my strongest sweet cravings!). In my book I share a little trick of a “recipe” where you combine sauerkraut, avocado and a couple other ingredients to make the flavor mild, delicious and easy to add to any recipe.
What’s one thing about your diet or lifestyle that may surprise people?
People are always shocked to see me eating cake at a special event. What they might not realize is that you do NOT have to deprive yourself to have the body and life you want.
My diet is mostly made up of delicious and exciting vegetables, fish, and foodgasm-inducing specialties like naturally fermented beets. Through self-experimentation, I know these foods will make me feel great in my body, energized, and mentally focused every single day.? But I also let myself live and enjoy life. Sometimes that means eating cake or trying a fresh and local cuisine while traveling, really experiencing everything life has to offer. As long as I’m chewing!
To make this blog even more awesome, I’m sharing my favorite recipe from the book.
PUMPKIN MUFFINS (Sugar free!)
Sometimes, you just want a muffin. I remember growing up on Long Island, I would beg my mom to take me to the neighborhood deli so I could get a “fat free” muffin the size of my head. What? They were “healthy”! Suuure. Well, I now know better (and you do too!) so I created this truly healthy recipe for any kind of muffin or cupcake craving. I suggest making a big batch of them, storing them in the freezer, and then thawing as needed. Just take them out the night before you plan on eating ‘em. If you have the time, cut your muffin in half, butter it up, and toast it on a skillet. I’ve also served them for dessert with the Coconut Frosting (recipe included below!) and a shaving of real dark chocolate or sprinkle of cinnamon. Added bonus, kids love them!
Makes 12 servings
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
½ cup unsalted almond butter
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground chia or ground flax seeds, optional
½ cup dark chocolate chips or chopped nuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Combine the bananas, eggs, almond butter, and butter in a blender, food processor, or mixing bowl and mix well, mashing the bananas completely.
Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, sea salt, and ground chia or flax and chocolate chips or nuts, if using. Mix well.
Pour the batter evenly among the cupcake liners.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool.
2 (15-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated
4 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut sugar 1?4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1. Spoon off only the cream from the cans of coconut milk.
2. Whisk it and the maple syrup or coconut sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt together until smooth. Refrigerate until you’re ready to frost and serve the muffins.
If you want to join me in NYC this Thursday, February 4th, to celebrate the launch of Go With Your Gut, sign up here.
Other Resources That Relate To This Topic
If you are ready to create a healthy spiritual relationship to food and yourself, check out my digital course, Finally Full: A Workshop on Spirituality and Food.
Free Audio Presentation
Learn how to avoid making the same mistake twice! Gabby offers guidance on how to release addictive behavior and create lifelong change in her free audio presentation. To access the audio, click below!