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I was recently inspired by fellow nutritionist Sarah B.’s instagram post on who she wanted to be as a practitioner.  It really resonated with me – because up until last year, this was something I was conflicted with myself.

When I graduated, I felt like I needed to be a certain way to be a good nutritionist.  I thought I need to be more strict with myself, more skinny, more into cleanses and protein powders and quick weight loss tricks.  I thought I should probably be avoiding something.  Every nutritionist seemed to cut out meat or dairy or grains…something.  I thought there had to be a type of diet I was aligned with or a rule I religiously followed.

I did naturally gravitate towards whole foods and filled my plate with lots of veggies, because they made me feel better than always eating burgers.  But did I still eat burgers?  Sure – if I felt like it.  I would never even think twice, until I started wondering if that is what a nutritionist was supposed to do.  Maybe I should have had no bun, or organic ketchup or have said no in the first place.  What would my clients think? I was feeling balanced emotional and physically, but without putting enough restriction on myself, somehow inadequate in my profession.

A side note: ironically during this time the clients I was most myself with were the ones that were seeing the best results. When I acted as though I thought I should consulting, those were the clients I did not help – but maybe even made their situation worse.  I remember handing over a program that I believed in theory would get rid at all my clients symptoms, something they taught us in school.  No gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, fried foods, processed foods, coffee, alcohol, etc, etc.  She looked up and me and burst into tears.  I never saw her again.  I had pushed away my intuition that told me to work slowly with her, and had ended up making a big mistake.

Fast forward to this spring when I decided to go back to IHN for a continuing education course on Eating Disorders that Kyla Fox was teaching.  In the first class, maybe within in the first few moments, I realized had taken for granted my positive relationship with food.  I quickly learned how many people are suffering in the presence of food, including most of the smart, interesting, talented and beautiful women in my class.  I learned that despite the fact that I was not “cleansing” or “detoxing”, I was eating when I was hungry, stopping when I was full (something, I became aware, does not come easily to everyone).  I ate kale and spinach, but pizza and fries, too.  I ate this way because I loved myself.  I was able to stay balanced because of this love – not caught in a binge, restrict, binge, restrict cycle of self confusion and hatred.  It became clear that this thing I thought made me an inferior nutritionist, actually made me a really good one.

It was in that class that something really clicked for me.  What I knew deep down all along, what I had been practicing in my own life for years, was ok.  It was more than ok.  I did not have to teach people how to have the “perfect” diet”.  I could just be me and still inspire wellness.  Kyla’s words felt right.  They were inclusive, positive and calming.  They were the opposite of the ones in some of the courses in my first training that centred around exclusion, avoidance and fear.  One of my favourite sentences Kyla said, a quote I will never forget was: “A healthy relationship with food includes all foods.”  (I understand that there are individuals that this may not apply to for obvious allergy or ethical reasons.  You can most certainly avoid those foods.)  But this means your favourite foods, anytime, without guilt.  I wholeheartedly believe this.

As Sarah put it so perfectly in her post, “only love leads to love”.  You can not hate and torture your body into perfection.  When we love ourselves we want to nourish – not punish, our bodies.  We want to eat veggies, exercise, sleep, mediate, take time for self-care – we want to feel good.  We also want to eat cake and ice cream and go for dinner with friends and pick what we feel like on the menu without question, because that also feels good.  You can not have a stream of negative self talk and then expect positive results.  Life does not start once you’ve reached a certain size, eat a certain number of calories or completely avoid ___ food.   You won’t be smarter, funnier, more likeable or happier.  Your life can start now, when you begin to let go.  Let go of the hate for yourself and the expectations you (or others) have decided you need to meet in order to be ok.

So to answer my question: I am an open and understanding nutritionist.  I am a nutritionist that is still learning about my own body as I try and help you get to know yours.  I am the type of nutritionist that may recommend you do some stuff less and some others a bit more in order to see how it makes your body feel.  I am a nutritionist who will to guide you towards improving your health by teaching you to listen to, respect and love the body you are in.

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As the heatwave subsides and the crazy whirlwind that is summer draws to a close, we are able to slow down, relax and appreciate the best the season has to offer.  Along with the change in temperature and pace, the shorter days encourage us back into the kitchen to use up the abundance of produce we have luckily been graced with from these few short, but precious months.  September has always been a favourite time of mine as the seasonal location of Health Hut wraps up and I am left with more time to experiment with new recipes, flavours and slower living in general.  Here, find some inspiration as we linger in the last of summer and beginnings of fall.

shredded kale salad with tomatoes, olives + feta | sprouted kitchen

peach, basil + radicchio salad | love and lemons

fish with sauce nicoise | food 52

summer gazpacho | bon appetit

basic tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes | the kitchn

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view all recipes here

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As the weather heats up, the needs of our bodies naturally shift.  We often crave lighter meals and snacks, and raw foods slowly start taking over more space on our plates.

Key players include asparagus, peas, radishes, fresh herbs, wild greens like ramps and fiddleheads, arugula and sprouts.  Their bright, crisp colours make for beautiful dishes and a welcome flavour and texture change from the rich cooked meals of winter.

lemony shaved asparagus salad with farro, arugula and edamame | floating kitchen

smoked salmon and preserved lemon tea sandwiches | food and wine

pea, asparagus and fava bean salad | bon appetit

spring quinoa bowl with quick-pickled vegetables, hummus + herbed yogurt | my darling lemon thyme

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view all recipes here

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To me there is no greater holiday than Thanksgiving.  Without pressure to exchange gifts, you are free to enjoy the crisp weather, colourful leaves and an entire weekend centred around one beautiful meal.  We always go overboard in my family, but when celebrating such an abundant season, it can be hard not to.

Inspired by a client’s request last week for some vegan and vegetarian friendly meal ideas for the holidays, I have collected 50 seasonal, plant-based recipes from my favourite cooks, blogs + journals to share with you.  Next to turkey or as a meal on their own, these veggies dishes will add vibrancy and nourishment to any table this Thanksgiving weekend.  Happy eating. x

stuffed za’atar roasted acorn squash | dolly and oatmeal

kale + roasted red kuri squash salad | a house in the hills

kale + shitake mushroom stuffing | love and lemons

kabocha squash, fennel + ginger soup with coconut cream | dolly and oatmeal

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view all 50 recipes here

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I recently set down and chatted with Emilie Dingfeld, health editor at FASHION magazine about some of the coolest superfoods/supplements everyone should know about.  After much back and forth (there are just so many!), we decided on these guys.

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Illustrations by Nicole Schaeffer

Read about why we love them in the full article here

Shop my favourite dandelion drink + medicinal mushrooms

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Long days and warm nights summon simple and cook-free meals.  During these months I find myself attracted to juicy ripe fruit, salads made with fresh produce and local fish like this cured trout by friend and food stylist extraordinaire, Amy Webster.  Below, Amy shares her take on the traditional gravlax:

Gravlax comes from the words  grav: (pit, hole, grave)  + lax (Swedish, Danish ) or laks (Norwegian), lachs (German), lox (Yiddish)  – all meaning salmon.

Similar in texture to smoked salmon, gravlax is the gentler of the two. Smoked salmon is usually soaked in a salt brine before smoking to prevent moisture loss. The result, while delicious, is a product that is quite strongly flavoured and very salty.

Gravlax, and this recipe in particular, uses very little salt and therefore leaves room for your palate to experience the flavours of the other ingredients you choose to cure it with, in addition to the fish itself.

 In the middle ages, Nordic fishermen would dig a hole in the sand and pack salmon fillets in sea salt, burying them to ensure a (somewhat) sterile curing environment. Presumably, this served the fisherman as a successful way to preserve their catch. It also probably made an easy lunch for long days out on the ocean. The result was a slightly more fermented version of the gravlax we know today. As tastes and technology evolved, Gravlax was enhanced by flavourful herbs such as dill, and the benefit of modern refrigeration.

When researching  recipes, I came across many different opinions and techniques. The basic concept is the curing of fish through the process of osmosis, using a combination of sugar, salt and whatever flavourings you want to add.

If you have more or less fish, adjust the salt and sugar accordingly. This gravlax has a buttery texture and isn’t overly salty as some smoked or salted fish can be. I also like the idea of using local fish. As we all know, farmed salmon is damaging to the ecosystem. Find a fish you like that is caught locally and give this a try!


Trout Gravlax
Print
Author: Amy Webster
Serves: 6-10 as an appetizer
Ingredients
  • 1 lb (454g) trout fillet ( or try a different wild caught fish), skin on, pin bones removed
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • generous amount of freshly ground pepper
  • zest of half a lemon
Instructions
  1. Cut your fillet in half widthwise as best you can, envisioning the ends lining up as evenly as possible when you sandwich them together.
  2. Lay it on a piece of parchment paper large enough to wrap the fillet sandwich like a present.
  3. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the fillet, adding a bit more to the thicker parts and less to the thinner.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar over the fillet in the same manner
  5. Scatter a generous amount of chopped dill, enough to cover the fillet evenly
  6. Add a generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper ( perhaps 1 tbsp)
  7. Do the same with the lemon zest.
  8. Flip one fillet on top of the other, skin sides out
  9. Wrap the fillet sandwich as tightly as you can with the parchment paper as if you are wrapping a parcel or present
  10. Tie tightly with the twine ( but not so tight that anything moves or squishes)
  11. Adding a couple tight layers of plastic wrap ensures no air will get it but you can skip this step if you like
  12. Place on a clean plate and cure in the fridge for 48 hours.
  13. Flip your parcel over twice a day. Some water may come out onto the plate, don't worry.
  14. After 48 hours, unwrap your gravlax,slice very thinly on an angle and serve!
Notes
TOOLS:
cutting board
knife
zester
parchment paper
plastic wrap (optional)
twine
measuring spoons
3.2.1284

 

 all photos: amy webster

I would serve this as an appetizer on grainy crackers or bread with some salty goat cheese and more fresh herbs and pepper. It would also go well in a salad or sandwich.

A beautiful (+ healthy) homemade gravlax recipe to wow your guests!
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