As we enter the season of celebration, gratitude is an essential way to cultivate joy—not the artificial happiness so often promoted by our consumer-driven culture (I’m looking at you, Elf on the Shelf), but true inner joy and contentment. 

There’s science supporting the practice of gratitude, even (especially) when things aren’t going our way. Noticing and celebrating even small moments like the sunrise or a kind word can help reduce stress, improve sleep, strengthen emotional resilience and immunity, and deepen mind-body health. It does take practice—think of gratitude as a daily habit, like brushing your teeth or taking a supplement. Deepak Chopra suggests writing down three things you’re grateful for each day, including specific detail and acknowledging the sheer number of people who bring you gratitude. 

autumn sunrise

There’s science supporting the practice of gratitude, even (especially) when things aren’t going our way. Click To Tweet

Gratitude practice is the perfect chance to honor your body and its incredible feats. Our choices when we eat, then, can also serve as a reflection of that gratitude. This month, I’ll share more tips on eating mindfully, choosing Golden Goddess Plate-approved foods that cultivate gratitude and health. 

Thank you for reading. Having you along for this journey is always a source of gratitude for me. Off to write in my gratitude journal! 



Our lives begin with round-the-clock feedings, our exhausted parents focused on ensuring we have enough milk to drink. We’re born with an instinct for what, and how much to eat.

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Are you feeling “heavy,” tired, or somewhat toxic?

Even if you stuck to the Golden Goddess Plate and a generally active lifestyle this summer (hiking, biking, etc), other factors could have derailed your system. Things like stress, too much caffeine or travel, which can make your digestion sluggish. I have good news, though! Some simple changes can help you get back on track. You deserve to feel more energized, reboot your digestion and get back to feeling like yourself.

I often feel derailed when traveling, or even just during summer. It’s so much easier to throw in the towel and go all out, splurging here and there. However, I’m still in the process of healing, so when I indulge or travel too much, my system truly takes ten steps back. (I’ve mentioned I have active EBV, Lyme, and have suffered from parasites, heavy metal toxicity, PTSD and the rare disease systemic mastocytosis.) 

Adhering to a 90/10 rule of thumb helps me: 90% of the time I’m on target and I deviate from that for the other 10%. Everyone is different, but for me, I feel that it’s not worth certain splurges only to end up bedridden and in pain a day later. Each of us has a choice to make; there isn’t one correct path. You know your own body and have the freedom to choose your pleasures. Even “guilty” pleasures, no judgment!

So how do we get back on track after these indulgences? These tips can help:

  1. Identify what you’ve been doing differently lately. Have you been eating lots of sugary or salty foods? Are you under stress with in-laws, work or family?
  2. My first go-to is a morning Golden Goddess Smoothie to balance out my blood sugar levels for the day. You can download my GutLove smoothie guide here. These smoothies will reignite your metabolism, calm any inflammation and crush any of those persistent cravings.
  3. Try my 5-day Gut Love Reset. The meals are easy to prep and packed with protein and veggies. This program will help balance your blood sugar levels and help you feel full longer, so you can tap into those fat reserves and burn a bit off. Even if you’re on the run, you can go to a Dig Inn, Spyce or Sweet Greens for a nourishing meal. Order wild sockeye salmon, roasted chicken or roasted veggies over greens. You’ll feel full and energized.
  4. Get moving. Exercise releases toxins and helps your blood and lymphatic system detoxify. 
  5. You can always speed up the detox process in a sauna. My favorite kind is an infrared sauna, which emits infrared light to heal you. The rays penetrate on a cellular level, which increases blood flow and oxygenation, facilitates removal of toxins from the skin, eliminates aches and pains, acts as an immune booster, and aids in weight loss. You can find infrared saunas at local gyms, massage therapy centers or sauna centers. I visit a sauna twice a week for at least 15-20 minutes (or longer if possible).


Try these tips and get on the road to feeling better soon! As always, I’m here if you need help on your road to healing.


nourishing lab

Hi friends. Trying something different here at NL. Have any questions about your GutLove or healthy journey? I’ll answer in some helpful posts! Sound good? Simply contact me here. Anything you want to know! Let’s try one now.

Hi Melissa,

I’ve been following your Golden Goddess Plate and drinking the Golden Goddess Smoothies regularly. I feel great and I’ve lost weight, but now I want to be able to go out and still stay on track with this new way of eating. What are some of your strategies for eating out? -Rachel

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for your question, and congratulations on taking strides toward a healthier you! 

First, eating out will not completely derail you from your goals. Fundamentally, the Golden Goddess Plate regulates your blood sugar levels and increases your metabolism; this means that your body will continue to use food for fuel rather than storing it as fat. Eating out once or even twice a week won’t set you back and throw off your metabolism, so enjoy yourself.

Eating out can be a daunting task for many of us, but the beauty of the Golden Goddess Plate is that you can enjoy it at restaurants, as well. Following this way of dining is about sustaining healthy eating habits and balance, not extremes. One of my favorite things to do is trying new restaurants, but with some preparation and education.

Some helpful dining out tips:

  1. I always like to have a small meal mid-afternoon that will sustain me for hours so that I can make wise menu choices at dinner. If your blood sugar levels drop after not having a “bridge” snack before you go to dinner, you’re more likely to indulge in foods that don’t agree with you.
  2. Check out menus online before you go out. Most restaurants offer gluten free, vegan and paleo options, and allow substitutions, too. Make a plan for what you’re going to eat beforehand.
  3. Want a drink? Choose a club soda or seltzer with lime or lemon to start. If you want a glass of champagne or red wine, have one with dinner. This will minimize your alcohol intake so that you feel better the next day.
  4. I always opt not to have the bread basket at the table. It’s too tempting for me, and I end up being too full to enjoy my actual meal. You can also ask if gluten-free bread is available as an alternative.
  5. For an appetizer, I like to load up on the veggies. You can even order a veggie side as an app. Salad or soup is a great option. Ask if the soup is cream based; if so, opt for salad with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon. A salad will help fill you up (hi, fiber!).
  6. For an entree, I choose a protein option like chicken, wild-caught salmon, or sautéed or grilled beef. I then swap out any carbs for extra veggies.
  7. If I have wine with dinner, I usually skip dessert. If I don’t have wine or a drink, then I’ll share a dessert with my dinner date.
  8. Alcohol is tricky. Red wine contains resveratrol, which is an antioxidant. However, alcohol has a negative effect on weight loss and gut health. 
  9. Alcohol is a source of empty calories as well, so choose wisely. I order a clean margarita: tequila with club soda and fresh lime. You could also order champagne or wine as better options over fruit juice and syrup-filled cocktails.



nut milk

                      courtesy of Nectar and Green and Brian Samuels Photography

Are you looking for a healthy alternative to cow’s milk? Do you want to eat healthy on a budget? NL’s guide to nut milks can help.

Should you avoid dairy? Not everyone needs to stay away from dairy; some people can digest it well and their body actually feels good with dairy. However, dairy sensitivity is more prevalent these days. You’ve got to eat what’s right for you.

Well, this is intolerable!

If you suspect that a dairy intolerance causes your digestion issues, you may have actually have a casein A1 intolerance

Cardiologist and heart surgeon Dr. Steven R. Gundry, M.D. is the author of The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain. One of the things that he discusses in his book is how our food sources have changed. Over the years, dairy cows developed a genetic mutation which caused their milk to contain casein A1, a lectin-like protein. He states that “the way this protein digests in our body can create all kinds of ongoing problems you might want to avoid.” 

Did you ever notice that dairy bothers you less when you’re traveling? Like me, Dr. Gundry suggests that pain and bloating from dairy are actually caused by the casein A1 protein: “In Southern Europe, the cows happen to make a different protein which is casein A2, and this protein is better for you and more tolerable.” Recent studies show that there are lower incidences of heart health and blood sugar issues in those people that consume casein A2 milk.

Reading the signs

Here are some possible dairy sensitivity signs and symptoms:

  1. Constipation
  2. Bloating
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Abdominal cramps
  5. Nasal congestion
  6. Earaches
  7. Colic in babies
  8. Runny nose
  9. Itchy eyes
  10. Hives (could also be related to a histamine intolerance)
  11. Heartburn
  12. IBS or celiac disease
  13. Arthritis and joint inflammation

Please note: These signs and symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have a dairy intolerance. There could be many other reasons for your discomfort, so I suggest working with a nutritionist, someone like myself, or a functional medicine doctor who understands nutrition.

And one more thing: Did you know that dairy can actually raise insulin levels? The combination of dairy proteins and lactose affects your blood sugar levels: so if you’re stressed, already insulin resistant, trying to lose weight, or have thyroid issues, dairy is not your friend.

Should you avoid dairy? Not everyone needs to stay away from dairy; some people can digest it well and their body actually feels good with dairy. However, dairy sensitivity is more prevalent these days. You’ve got to eat what’s right… Click To Tweet

Nut milk vs. cow’s milk        

Dairy and I do not get along. I get unpleasant symptoms from it as I heal myself from heavy metal toxicity, Lyme, systemic mastocytosis, active EBV, parasites and other issues. I have chosen to remove all dairy from my diet; the hives and other symptoms aren’t worth it. My body uses these symptoms to tell me that I’m still on a healing journey, so I choose to honor this truth about my path.

Nut milk is generally easier on digestion, tastes great and is affordable. Making nut milk is super simple and affordable, too. Many clients think that nut milks are expensive, but if you purchase nuts or seeds in bulk and make your own nut milk, this dairy alternative should be much more affordable.

The homemade version is much healthier because you use just a few simple ingredients. Many store-bought options have questionable ingredients, such as carrageenan.

What is carrageenan? It’s a common “natural” food additive derived from seaweed and used as an emulsifier or thickener. Studies show that carrageenan may increase the risk for glucose intolerance and promote cancer. If you’d like to avoid carrageenan, here’s a helpful resource.

I’m often asked: “What about calcium? Do I need to get calcium from milk?”

This is a widespread concern. The Dairy Council does a great job marketing that dairy is the only and best way to get daily calcium and vitamin D. The truth is that calcium is widespread and found in many plant foods.

Great ways to get more calcium:
1 cup of 1% milk = 305 mg
100 grams of broccoli = 100 grams of calcium
1 cup of sesame seeds = 1400 mg of calcium
100 grams of almonds = 380 mg of calcium

You can get Vitamin D from sunlight, by spending 20-30 minutes a day outside (with sunscreen!) or by adding vitamin D and K2 supplements to your diet.

Go nuts

What kinds of nut milks can you enjoy? Here are some interesting choices:

  • Macadamia nut milk
  • Pumpkin seed milk
  • Flax milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Watermelon seed milk
  • Cashew milk

Experiment and make your own!

How to Make Nut Milk

nut milk


  • 1 cup raw almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, cashews
  • 2 dates
  • 3 cups water
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher or sea salt


  1. Place nuts in a jar or container and add water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse nuts; place in a blender and add 3 cups of filtered water. Blend on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
  3. For almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans, dump pulp back into blender along with 1 cup of filtered water. Blend on high for about a minute; strain again through nut milk bag. (Cashews have nowhere near as much pulp, so blending them twice is unnecessary.)
  4. If you want a thinner nut milk, add more water as desired.
  5. If you prefer a smoother, less gritty nut milk, strain it again. (Let the liquid drain slowly without squeezing, to prevent grit from getting through.)
  6. Pour into jars and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

How to use your nut milk

  • Pour on quinoa porridge
  • Try anti-inflammatory turmeric nut milk
  • Make a matcha tea latte
  • Use in NL’s GutLoving Smoothies
Did you know that dairy can actually raise insulin levels? The combination of dairy proteins and lactose affects your blood sugar levels: so if you’re stressed, already insulin resistant, trying to lose weight, or have thyroid… Click To Tweet

Did you try making a nut milk? Have fun experimenting with different choices and adding your nut milk to your diet in different ways. And share them all with me and others in the community on insta @nourishinglab – we can inspire each other!


healthy dinner

Summer’s great for enjoying yourself and escaping, but when fall rolls around, maybe you’re (maybe “we” – I include myself in this, too!) are thinking we indulged a little more than expected. That’s okay.

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root vegetables

There are many theories out there on how to boost your metabolism, but that’s just what they are—theories. Every body is very different, and so is every metabolism. There are steps we can take to improve our metabolism, but first, let’s take a look at what metabolism actually is.

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beach bound

Summer is finally here! This amazing season is usually all about relaxing by the beach or pool (at least that’s how you always envision it.) But summer can actually be a little bit stressful.

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