Q&A Friday: sugar addiction

Happy Friday!

It’s been a crazy couple of days getting back from Nashville, and then preparing to head out of town for the weekend for a Cru beach retreat in Ocean Grove, NJ. So a little crazy leading up to the weekend, but it will be restful once we get there!

I planned to get a survey together for today, but look out for that next week – instead I’ve got another round of Q&A Friday where we’re talking about sugar addiction and the ethics of plant based eating.

TGIF ya’ll.

WIAW: What I learned from FNCE


I flew back to NYC last night, so today is full forge ahead back into the nursing world and back into school + life mode. But you guys, I feel so refreshed mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. And I’m so excited to feel refreshed and re-energized about the blog and Nutshell. If I’m honest, sometimes I can feel alone in what I do for a living because I don’t work directly with other RDs, I don’t work in an office, and I don’t collaborate with other dietitians on a daily basis. As I balance practicing as an RD, while pursuing a career in nursing, it’s easy to feel like “is anybody else feeling this way or thinking this?!”


breakfast every day was pumpkin oatmeal [1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup oat bran, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp flax, chopped apple, a ton of cinnamon and a big scoop of sunbather


But after four days of connecting with other RDs who think similar to myself, listening to lots of amazing speakers and hearing so, so much valuable information, I’m pumped up to focus on what matters with this blog + business and letting go of what doesn’t. That was a huge take away for me—to focus on things that are going cater to your audience and grow your business. And a huge relief for me was realizing that means a couple, not all, social media platforms. There are SO many social media platforms and I get overwhelmed. I went to mostly sessions on business + branding + social media and then ones on functional nutrition, how to communicate with clients that move them towards change, a session on sleep and a session on satiety vs. satiation. All a wealth of information! I also had no idea how huge FNCE actually is…HUGE. There were over 10,000 attendees and it was held in the Music City Center if that gives you an idea. So many RDs, companies, brands, PR people and on and on and on.


most days lunch was just eating tons of sample at the expo (seriously, so many samples!) but on Friday I went to Sunflower Cafe and got this amazing buffalo tempeh wrap with vegan ranch and smokey collards–so good! 


A HUGE thanks to all your kind words on my Instagram post about being one of ten dietitians in the country named an Agent of Change by Unilever. My heart is filled up and spilling over in gratitude for being named, but most importantly for all the support from each and every one of you. So, THANK YOU.

I’ve also come to a confident conclusion that I’m never going to be a food blogger, or a recipe developer that styles food and takes amazing photographs, or an RD who writes about meal plans and nutrient intake and gets super sciency. It’s just not where my heart is—and that’s okay. My heart loves connecting with women, simplifying nutrition to reduce stress around food, building community, helping women walk in freedom from the bondage of food/exercise/body image and seeing women discover who they were fully created to be. So that means you’ll see me focusing on Instagram, YouTube and Periscope. I love connecting through Instagram and you’ll see more videos as I start to compile and focus on a YouTube channel. And you guys, I’m most excited about Periscope. I discovered this a couple months ago and think it’s the best thing ever. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically live streamed videos. So I’m hoping to do a live stream 2x a month. I’ve found that what makes me light up and get super passionate is talking + connecting with you all – and YouTube and Periscope are two really great channels to do that.


dinners were either eaten out or taken out // one night I had the best ever vegan taco salad from Wild Cow, and another Whole Foods hot bar + crackers and hummus + pumpkin soup


But what really matters is what YOU guys want to see more of! As I move through finishing nursing school by next December and move into full time practice as a Nurse Practitioner, I want to always be doing Nutshell and this blog. And to do that I want to focus on what serves you all most. And what you want to read about and hear about. So look out for a survey on Friday!


I hope you had the best weekend ever and your week is off to a great start!

I love you guys more than you know.


Q&A Friday: Overcoming a Picky Palate

Edited to add: the Vega giveaway winner is Hannah R! Email me at robyncoale@gmail with your address!

Happy Friday from Nashville!

I’m here for FNCE, and I’m super excited! Hear more in the video below, plus how to eat “healthy” when your tastebuds just don’t like healthy food.

Have an awesome week and if you want, follow me on Instagram and Twitter to see what’s going on at FNCE!

Movie on 10-1-15 at 10.21 PM from Robyn Coale on Vimeo.

WIAW: why’d you eat that?

Hi hi hiiiii! It’s Wednesday and tomorrow is freaking October…like what?

It’s 8:30pm on a Tuesday night and I’ve been up since 5:30 and had a full day of clinical so let’s dive right into some good eats and a little commentary answering the question, “why’d you eat that?”

On early mornings when I have to leave the house before 7am, I always pack a breakfast I can take with me on the go since a) I’ll take 20 extra minutes of sleep instead of cooking + eating breakfast at home any day and 2) I’m usually out of the house within 30 minutes of waking and I’m not quite ready for a big breakfast before my coffee so I’ll eat a few bites of banana before I leave [which I never post on WIAW, oops] and then bring breakfast to go. So while I prefer to eat pancakes instead of overnight oats, oats are what can be made the night before and are portable!  Nobody likes cold, soggy pancakes.


Into the pyrex went 1/2 cup oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 tsp vanilla and a lot of cinnamon. I put that in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I through in some blueberries, top with sunbutter and coconut oil [try it!] and throw it in my bag to eat on the subway. Enough protein between the chia + oats + sunbutter, lots of healthy fats from the chia, sunbutter and coconut oil and carbs to hold me over until lunch.

Butternut squash is back! Guys, I will literally eat a variation of this salad for the next four months so be prepared. On Sunday I roasted up a butternut squash, beets, and broccoli by simple cubing the squash and chopping the broccoli into tiny florets and coating them in coconut oil before roasting at 400 for 20 minutes for the broccoli and 35-45 for the squash. All I did with the beets was wrap each beet individually in foil and roast for like 50 minutes at 400 degrees. Then rub off the skin and you have freshly roasted beets! I whipped up a super quick maple dijon dressing by whisking together:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp dijon mustard

sea salt to taste

Threw all the roasted veggies over some baby kale, added a couple tablespoons of dressing and then ate it with some rice cakes and this lentil curry hummus [which was good, but interesting], an apple and a leftover brownie from last week.



This lunch keeps me full for a few hours and satisfies everything. I don’t really care for salads during the colder months, but roasted veggies over kale with a great dressing totally gets me. Plus hummus + rice cakes for salty crunch and some protein and the apple + brownie for carbs and fats and sweetness!

Afternoon snacks on the way home included dried mango and almonds because I was craving sweet, but knew I needed fats + protein to hold me over so I ate the almonds too. I honestly prefer nutbutter over nuts, but nuts are way more portable. And these to-go packs from Trader Joe’s are the best thing ever. And then I wasn’t really that hungry, but was bored slash wanted chocolate so I ate this leftover 1/2 of a Vega bar. I was tired today for some reason and so all I wanted was allthecarbs and allthechocolate. So I worked with what I had in my lunchbox.



I came home, had a quick call, and then went on a 7 mile run that included hills – the marathon is almost here and I’m looking forward to tapering! I chugged a post run smoothie before showering made with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 scoop Vega Sport, 1 cup frozen organic spinach and 1 cup blueberries.


Dinner was summer rolls from Madison Square Eats, which is basically a bunch of food vendors out in Madison Square Park. Nick and I split these summer rolls filled with lentils + goat cheese, quinoa + tofu + some sort of peanut sauce and then I forget what was in the other one. Plus this kale, black bean and brussels salad that I won’t lie, wasn’t that good. The rolls were amazing though and totally hit the spot. I love a summer roll filled with all kinds of fresh veggies and grains and sauce. Protein + fat + carb, satisfied.



Lastly, Van Leeuwen’s for ice cream! One vegan sea salt carmel cone and one chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich with vegan mint chocolate chip split between the both of us. If you are ever in NYC, go get this ice cream. They have vegan and non vegan ice cream and I’ve had both and the vegan is AMAZING. Super rich and so good. Plus all their ice cream is super fresh. Was I hungry for this? No. But was I craving it? Absolutely.


And that’s a wrap!

Confession of an RD: Part 2


Sometimes I don’t practice drinking in moderation. I usually have a glass or two of wine on a Friday and/or Saturday, but every so often that second glass of wine turns into a shot of whiskey and then a vodka soda and then I’m like, “Well, that was overkill Robyn.” And then the next morning I remember why I don’t do that. And I realize I’m 26, not 22, and it takes me like 3 days to recover from a late night out.

I sometimes bring my laptop to bed and lay there for 30 minutes or so reading God knows what right before I go to bed. And then I tell my clients and others to not use electronics for at least an hour before bed. I know, I know….I know. But I’m human too and I’m working on this bad habit.

I don’t take vitamins. Americans are so unnecessary with vitamins. Save you’re money and buy high quality food instead.

Dinner sometimes means me standing up in my kitchen eating a baked potato with butter, a bowl of cereal with almond milk and carrots with hummus. Then some dark chocolate dipped straight into the PB jar. Whatevs.

Contrary to so much of what I write about, I have blah body image days. Maybe once a month, and much less than ever before, but I’m a woman in freaking America. Thank God for grace and truth and stretchy pants.

I snooze for like 30 minutes in the morning. I could definitely be getting 30 more minutes of solid sleep in the morning, but instead I keep pressing snooze and I still can’t figure out why.

Vega: Free Training/Nutrition Plans + Giveaway

There aren’t a whole lot of brands out there that I’ll support. Not that I wouldn’t love to, but often there is so much emphasis on calories, vitamin supplementation or a mentality + culture around the brand that just doesn’t really jive with me.

But Vega, ya’ll know how much I love this brand + company.

Long before they started hooking me up with all things Vega, I was gushing on how much I loved their products, their philosophy, and their overall approach to life. It’s not about calories or diets or tons of supplementation, but rather nourishing your body with whole plant foods, eating food that tastes good, moving in a way that feels awesome, and just experiencing life to its fullest.

I started using Vega a few years ago when I was looking for a whole foods protein powder that was more than just protein– I needed something to put in my post long run smoothies because solid food sounds unappealing right away. So I picked up a tub of Vega at Whole Foods and have been hooked ever since. Now almost 5 marathons and 5 years later, I’m still using Vega One daily in green smoothies that I drink as breakfast #1 and Vega Sport in smoothies that I drink after long runs. And after Vega sent me more of their Sport line when I started training for the NYC marathon, I drink the Recovery Accelerator mixed into water after long runs along with a smoothie, put the electrolyte packets in my water a few times a week, and snack on the bars as quick and healthy snacking on the go.


All that to say, I’m pumped about their new FREE running and strength/conditioning plans that Vega released this summer. I’ve blended some of their strength workouts into my marathon training schedule and have loved them. But it gets better because they also offer FREE nutrition plans that match whatever you’re focusing on – either running or strength. And it’s not about calories or any of that blab, just nourishing your body well to live your best life. And with a whole lot of plants. I can get down with that.




The recipes are simple and the workouts are fun and not off-the-wall-crazy. I’ve  overtrained and undertrained for marathons, and always ran much better when I was undertrained. So the plans are doable, and can fit into your lifestyle– because a training plan that overtakes my social life or leaves me exhausted just doesn’t work. In addition to the detailed workout series, you also get over 25 recipes, grocery lists [yes!], workout and nutrition difference makers, playlists to get pumped and rock your happy pace, and so much more! And the detailed PDFs are just so dang pretty.


My guy Trevor over at Vega is the man. I wish we were friends in real life, because he’s one of those people that you just want to be around. And he wants to hook you guys up with some Vega too. All you have to do is sign up for one or both of the free training plans [what, like it’s hard?] and then tweet or post to social media about the plan you signed up for with something like this: “Get 14 weeks of Free Strength & Running Training Guides from @vegateam here: http://bit.ly/FYB-TrainingPlans #FuelYourBetter @thereallife_rd” Comment below telling me you entered and feel free to customize your social media share –just make sure to share the link, hashtag and tweet at Vega and me to make sure you’re entered into the giveaway.

So what’s in the giveaway?

Sport Bundle - Half MarathonA whole lot of good stuff to get you through any half marathon training plan [or really any training or workout season for that matter!] Basically all things I’m using right now in this marathon training season and love. Performance Protein, Pre-Workout Energizer, Recovery Accelerator, and the Hydrator all valued at upwards of $200. Thank you Vega!

The NYC marathon is in 5 weeks and even though I’ve battled some IT band issues, I ran a 20 miler yesterday and felt really good– and I know Vega has played a huge part in helping me recover and keep this body healthy when life gets crazy and training doesn’t go according to plan. So I’m excited to get it in your hands too!

Cheers to Vega, plants, Fridays, Trevor, and giveaways!

WIAW: food is just food

I love food.

Like a lot.


WIAW breakfast // blueberry buckwheat pancakes with almond butter, a peach and lots of coffee

I love to browse recipes. I love to try new recipes. I love to host people for dinner. I love going to restaurants. I love exploring a new city through its food. And when I’m not in NYC, I love to grocery shop. I freaking love food.

But at the end of the day, food is just that. Food.

It’s meant to nourish us, give us energy + life, and there for us to enjoy. Simply put, it’s just food. But more often then not, we make it into something it’s totally not. As a society, we perpetually glorify food.


post 6 mile run green smoothie // 1/2 scoop Vega One, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup frozen organic spinach 

By either restricting and manipulating food to carve our body into a certain shape and size. Or by indulging and gluttonizing as a means to escape our emotions or reward ourselves. Or by attaching positive or negative judgments to food to foster both self righteousness or guilt depending on our food choices. We give food way too much glory and power.

The longer I talk with women through Nutshell, in my church community, in friendships and even acquaintanceships, the more it becomes abundantly clear of how enslaved we can become to food. But what if we simplified food, and thought of it as just….food.


lunch // salad with mixed greens, bell pepper, tomato, nutritional yeast and balsamic vinaigrette + super seedy bread  + celery and hummus + strawberries 

A gift for us to nourish our bodies, satisfy hunger, and make our tastes buds happy.

That kale and broccoli would be something that can taste good, but also feel good. And cupcakes would be something that of course taste good, but they are also just that…cupcakes. Enjoy it and move on. No calculating calories, no wondering if the carbs will balance out given what you’ve already eaten and what you might eat later on, and simply enjoying it because it makes you feel good, because it tastes good, and because it does both.

This can at times seem almost impossible with all the false messages we are told by society about food and exercise and beauty. Nutrition advice changes more often than the sun rises. But what if we just got back to basics?


snacks // kombucha and half this chocolate bar + vegan banana bread with coconut oil and strawberry jam 


Eat your vegetables.

Choose whole grains most of the time.

Include healthy fats in each meal.

Focus on plant proteins.

Enjoy foods that feel good and foods that taste good.

When you’re hungry…eat.

And just let food be food.


dinner // hummus + pita and fattoush salad with more pita + a glass of red wine at Gazala’s Place


late night snack // three OSG dream cups

FullSizeRender-11There are enough things that can cause us stress and anxiety and stir up emotions in this life. Food shouldn’t reign over our lives, enslave us to self hatred or starvation or gluttony, or be something we idolize.

It’s just food.

And while I love kale and lentils, I also love ice cream and wine. And those foods should be seen through the same lens. Just food.

Q&A Friday: Metabolism Myths

The weekend is here. Happy Friday guys!

I hope you’ve had an awesome week and if it’s been a little crazytown, I totally get it, and I hope you find rest this weekend.

Nick and I are hosting a dinner party tonight and then the rest of the weekend will be a combination of dinners out + drinks with friends and also getting some school work + Nutshell things done before next week. Church on Sunday and then hopefully some grocery shopping and cooking! What’s on tap for your weekend?

This week we’re talking about metabolism myths. Does metabolism slow as we age? And does everything you eat after 7pm turn to fat? And then lastly, we’re talking about morning routines.


WIAW: chocolate coconut sunflower balls

How’s your week going? Because of Labor Day last week, this is our first full week of class so it feels good to be in a rhythm and fully into the swing of things. And you guys, I cannot get enough of this cooler weather. Nick and I walked to get ice cream last night and I had on leggings, a long sleeve, and a jacket. The mornings are crisp and hot oatmeal is back!


Mondays and Wednesdays I have to leave my apartment by 8am so breakfast is eaten on my way uptown to Columbia. This week, I’m all about the classic banana + PB oatmeal…except this is oatbran. I posted on IG and some of you asked about a recipe– this is just 1/3 cup dry oatbran, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, a splash of cinnamon, a heafty sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of sea salt. Let it simmer away until all the liquid is absorbed and then stir in a chopped banana and top with a respectable spoonful of PB. If you haven’t had Trader Joe’s flax and chia PB, go get some.

Pancakes hold me over way, way longer than oatmeal though so by 11am I was about to eat my arm off, so I ate some almonds in class.


And then was more than ready for lunch by 12:30. Some days are just hungry days. I ate in the sunshine while doing some freelance work and answering emails. It was cool and breezy and I was super grateful to be able to have a job that allows me to work anywhere.


I’m still working my way through this super dense seedy bread I made last week, so with a slice of that I had kale salad [if you live in NYC, organic kale is 2/$4 at Whole Foods, heyyyy!] with tomatoes and bell pepper + lemon tahini dressing . Plus a kiwi, some cucumber + hummus and a couple squares of dark chocolate.

And after working for a couple hours, I was hungry again. Before heading to a cycling class, I ate a couple sunflower raisin energy balls I made in about 5 minutes yesterday by throwing this is my Vitamix and then rolling it into balls:


Chocolate Coconut Sunflower Bites

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

2/3 cup organic raisins 

6 tbsp unsweetened coconut 

3 tbsp cacao powder [or cocoa powder will do too] 

1/4 tsp sea salt

And then spun my little heart out at a cycle class. I’m fighting some IT band issues with training for the NYC marathon, so while I could run– it’s uncomfortable and I don’t want to really piss off my IT band so I’m taking this week off from running and cross training instead. And I won’t lie, spin kicked my butt. Holy hamstrings, I forgot how hard it is.


I showered, biked home and drank a green smoothie while throwing together dinner because I was too hungry to wait. In the Vitamix, 1 cup homemade cashew milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen organic spinach, and 1/2 scoop Vega sport. I reheated gingery red lentils I made on Sunday, mashed a yukon gold potato with some butter, and sautéed up some TJs frozen green beans with coconut oil.


After dinner, Nick and I walked to get a salty crunch sundae from Chloe’s because it was so nice out and we were both craving it. But I was still hungry when I got home so I ate some flattened banana with PB and chocolate and then tucked into bed to read by 10:30 – cheers to early bedtimes!



And that’s a wrap to a hungry WIAW.

Eat something awesome today, okay?

exercise anxiety

Our culture is not only diet obsessed, but workout obsessed.

The sweatier the better. The more calories burned, the more satisfied. We’re bombarded with fitspo and relentless messages of more, more, more and harder, faster, stronger.

Sleeping in over working out often leads to self-shaming and guilt. And even if we feel tired and worn, we can easily convince our minds and our brains to push through and suck it up.

I’m not immune to any of this. I’ve been there. Back in college, taking a day off resulted in anxiety and lots of negative mental noise. So much of my identity was in running and working out and my body. I loved running and still do, but I’m not Robyn, the runner. I’m Robyn, and I just happen to enjoy running.

It seems that exercise has somehow become this glorified thing that has way too much control over who we are and how we feel. Exercise is just exercise. And nothing more.

It’s not the determining factor of your worth. Your productivity. Your ambition. Your commitment. Your dedication. Your perseverance. None of that.

Exercise is a way for us to take care of ourselves. A way to destress. To socialize. To build community. To relax. To burn off frustration. To cultivate joy. And to give God glory. It has nothing to do with our identity.

But sometimes we allow it to. We allow ourselves to become ridden with anxiety and guilt if we miss a day of exercise. Or if we sleep in, instead of sweat. Or if life gets busy and we don’t follow the plan perfectly. Where is the grace in that? Where is the freedom?


There isn’t any. And that is when exercise becomes something we feel we should do instead of something we want to do. We lose the appreciation for it. Exercise and movement gets the life sucked right out of it when we start associating it with our worth and identity. Just because you sleep in or just because you skip a workout because you’re tired or just because you have to stray from your training plan because life gets busy does change who you are.

Freeing yourself from those false assumptions allows you to enjoy exercise for how it makes you feel, not for how it makes you look or what it “allows” you to eat or how it shapes your reputation. Are we going to feel lazy some days and not want to lace up our shoes or roll out our yoga mat? Absolutely. There is a distinct difference between laziness and not pushing your butt out the door for no reason other than, “just not wanting to exercise” and not pushing your butt out the door because your body is worn down, you didn’t get enough sleep, or that life is just crazy. I think exercise is a healthy way to cultivate discipline in our lives, but it can also very quickly become unhealthy. Like when you rely on exercise to justify eating a certain number of calories or a certain type of food. Or when you rely on exercising every day for mental peace about not gaining weight. Or when you rely on exercise to affirm yourself as beautiful or worthy or “in control,” that is unhealthy. And it’s idolization of something that was never meant to be worshipped.


A day, two days, or a week of not working out is not going to make you gain 5 pounds or lose all your muscle tone or all your fitness. Working out does not equate weight maintenance. And exercise does not equal health. True health is so much more than our exercise routine or the food on our plate. It’s getting enough sleep, eating enough and eating well, exercising in a productive way and managing stress. And that includes rest days. It includes rest weeks. It includes spontaneous days off. And it includes days of rest that don’t include eating only vegetables or restricting your calories.

Eat a burger, drink some wine, and take a day off. You will still be alive and the same person the next day. Your mind + body + soul will be refreshed. And you’ll develop an appreciation for exercise based on how it makes you feel, not how it makes you look.

Because this life is way too short to stress over sweat.