Soup Season Is That You!?

Kate Costello, MS, CNS, LDN

Have you noticed the cool, crisp morning air? The light starting to fade earlier and earlier each night? There are even some extra leaves on the ground! In case you haven’t noticed Mother Nature’s shifts, you have certainly seen our big box influencers (Starbucks, Target) starting their fall campaigns … pumpkin and Halloween e v e r y t h i n g!

The subtle changes of this time of year, remind me a new norm is taking root. The season of harvesting, gratitude, preparation, brilliant colors, and extra layers is here. Some of our favorite fall foods like root vegetables, squashes, and dark-leafy greens have entered our farmers markets. If anyone had a summer like mine (long-weekend travels, dinners with friends, and even a surprise engagement!) this more easeful seasonal reminder to slow down, gather, and warm up is welcomed with open arms.

Time to dust off your stock pots, crock pots, or InstaPots!

Below are our 3 favorite soups and broths to warm us up on these coming brisk days:

Rebecca Katz Magic Mineral Broth –

InstaPot Bone Broth –

Kobocha squash soup –

So long sweet summer, until next year <3

“Are you Salvage Worthy?”

A client recently told me the story of going to see a practitioner who said to her, “I don’t know if I can help you yet.  First I have to see if you are salvage worthy.” 

I was floored.  Shocked.  I thought I had heard it all. 
A patient goes to see a practitioner for healing and comes home with more trauma. 

Navigating today’s medical world can be so challenging at times.  Particularly when you are ill but your symptoms don’t fit into a box. There is no easy label or easy solution for your cluster of symptoms. 
Sometimes there is bias or judgement around body weight, age, sex.
I see this story from two lenses.  

One, as practitioner.  We must remember that our words carry power to heal or to hurt.  The decision about whether or not a patient can heal or not is not ours to make.

Two, As a patient myself.  It is important to remember to advocate for ourselves.  To not give away our power to make decisions for ourselves.  We each are the experts about our own internal experience and history.  

We can choose who we see for medical care.  When talking to a medical provider, it is important to voice concerns, to pay attention to our inner dialogue and to have courage to say what we need to say.  
When it comes to healing, there is always something we can do. 

One thing I have learned in my life and my practice, no matter how small the act, if it moves us toward positive change then it matters.
A small action can have a large reaction.  We can support the MIND with hobbies, sleep, intellectual stimulation and positive social interactions.  We can support the SPIRIT with prayer, meditation and time in nature.  We can support the BODY with water, healthy food, movement and sleep. 

We are all salvage worthy.  We matter.  We are all worth time and effort from ourselves and from our health care professionals.  Small or large, any change towards health is a good place to start.  

Salads Made Easy

I love eating salads in summer.  So many fresh ingredients!!  Here is a picture of our “salad bar” at home.  On Sunday I prepare all the ingredients, hard boil the eggs, chop the veggies, etc..  Then at night when we are making lunches for the next day we pull them all out to make our salad.  

Lettuce – go green! The darker the better

Raw veggie toppers – grated beet, carrot, sliced radish, bell peppers, scallions, cucumbers, avocado, celery

Something sweet – berries, dried fruit, avocado, brown rice, quinoa, chopped tomato, roasted beets, sweet potato

Fun crunchy or salty toppers – roasted garbanzo beans, coconut chips, croutons, nuts/seeds, olives, cocoa nibs

Protein – baked tofu, beans, hard boiled egg, light canned tuna/sardine/salmon, grilled chicken

Favorite store bought dressings – Braggs vinaigrette, Primal Kitchen all flavors

Make your own vegan ranch dressing.

5 Free Wellness Behaviors

I realized the other day that so many of the things that keep me healthy are free.  There are things that I love that are not free (acupuncture, massage) but there are so many free tools too.  Self-care does not need to cost a lot of money.  

  1. Walk.  In the last few months, I have been aiming to hit 10,000 steps every day.  Before I set this goal, even though I worked out 3-5 times a week I could easily be at 3,000 steps on a work day without exercise.   I realized that even with physical activity I was sedentary 2 days a week.  This goal has really motivated me to get moving.  My husband and I now go for walks at night instead of TV or time on computer.  Whenever I go somewhere I ask myself if I can walk not drive.
  2. Meditate.  I love the Insight Timer app with free meditations.  I noticed benefits the first day I started doing 5-10 minute guided meditations.  It is such a small time investment.
  3. Sleep and more sleep. This is a daily goal of mine.  I don’t always achieve it with work-life balance. Life is full!  However I feel so much better when I get 8 hours. My outloook is better, I crave less carby stuff, and I just feel better overall.
  4. Cook.  You all know I love to cook.  Well actually, I love to eat.  So cooking ensures I get to eat healthy, yummy food every day.  It costs less than eating out and I get more steps towards my daily goal.
  5. Make time for people.  For me this could be a hug, a listening ear, making lunch dates, calling a friend, date night with my husband, etc.  This meta-analysis of 148 studies clearly established that one’s social relationships (social networks and support one gleans from their social network) are an independent risk factor for all cause mortality. In this review, social stress was more impactful than smoking, inactivity and alcohol on health!

Creative Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Creative Ways to Eat More Vegetables

  1. Add vegetable powders to pancakes, muffins, smoothies and frittatas.  I like Dr Cowan’s Threefold Powder Blend.  I often put 1 spoonfull in muffin recipes and no one who eats them would ever know!
  2. Add minced sauteed mushrooms and onions to your burgers.  This recipe is a favorite. I will substitute other ground meats like turkey or when feeling adventuresome, wild boar or venison.  Serve without the bun if eating less refined carbohydrates.  Or use these new sweet potaTOASTS by the maker of Caulipower pizza.
  3. Cauliflower rice is one of my favorites.  I was making it myself with a food processor but since I found a giant bag of Organic cauliflower rice at Costco I have been living off this “harvest.”  Substitute for rice in family recipes.  I like it for breakfast with 2 fried eggs.
  4. Green eggs and ham, anyone? Check out this simple way to make green scrambled eggs.  Make foods fun for kids, vegetables add natural food dye.  Beet powder can turn yogurt pink, turmeric can make a chai tea yellow, etc.

Four Kitchen Gadgets I Love!

4 Kitchen Gadgets I Love!

A Good Knife. I took my first official cooking class in 2012 with Myra Kornfeld when I was Director of the MS in Nutrition and Integrative Health Program at MUIH. One of the best thing I learned was how to use and care for a good quality knife. Up until that point I prepped foods with a paring knife or steak knife! With a good quality knife I can prep foods faster and safer. Keeping it sharp is important. I have a this Wusthof knife.

Paderno 3-Blade Spiralizer. It seemed an extravagance but it has been a favorite tool these past 2 years. It is hard to balance the preferences and needs of all members of a family. But one common goal is to eat more vegetables (maybe not PIper’s goal but certainly our goal). First I started just spiralizing zucchini for noodles but since then we have branched out to many other vegetables. I never ate turnip or rutabaga growing up but since then I have found they make a fabulous noodle! Pictured above: turnip noodles with bolognese sauce. Spiralize your favorite root vegetable. Boil or steam the noodles for 5-7 minutes until they taste “al dente” then strain. See Paderno 3-blade spiralizer here.

A Vitamixer. I bought mine used on Ebay for approximately $125 about 15 years ago. It is still going strong, although we have had to replace the blade and the lid. I use this for smoothies, pestos, pureed soups, pureeing nuts for cashew cream. It liquefies better than a food processor. The newer versions have more capability than my old stainless steel version but I am going to see how many years I can eek out of this one!

A Good Garlic Press. There is barely a savory recipe I make that does not contain garlic. Garlic is a favorite herb. Although, mincing garlic by hand is not my favorite activity and I find that pre-chopped jarred garlic does not have the same great flavor profile. This garlic press requires no peeling or chopping and allows me to get garlic easily into a recipe. For those who are sensitive to FODMAPs, a garlic-flavored olive oil is fabulous.

Salad in a Jar


Do you travel a lot?  Always on the go?  Here is a great way to pack your body full with delicious, easy and nutrient dense foods!  

In a mason jar layer the ingredients for a lunchtime salad on the go.  As long as the jar stays upright, ingredients will stay in place.  Once ready to eat you can mix all together.

Layer 1:  Dressing on the Bottom.  This helps keep ingredients dry before you’re ready to eat. Read the label to make sure you are purchasing salad dressings that uses olive or avocado oil rather than soy and canola oil.  I like Bragg and Primal Kitchen brands or homemade.

Layer 2:  Protein.  I like to combine two proteins including grilled or smoked fish, chicken, turkey, nitrate-free bacon, shredded cheese or soft cheese, hard-boiled egg, chopped nuts or seeds, chickpeas, black beans or other legumes.  Protein helps keep you full as satisfied for at least 2 hours.

Layer 3:  Denser Vegetables and Toppings Shredded carrots, celery, croutons, quinoa, dried fruit, cucumber, green beans, corn, radishes, and peas. Tomatoes can get soggy so best to use whole cherry tomatoes.

Layer 4:  Greens.  Rotate your greens to keep your salads interesting, including mesclun mix, red leaf lettuce, spinach, baby kale, microgreens, sprouts and arugula.  With the recent issue of sourcing uncontaminated lettuces it is a great time to step out of your comfort zone.  The tougher greens like baby kale and spinach work best because they don’t wilt as easily

How Does Your Prescription Medication Affect Your Nutrition?

When I meet with a client I look at all the factors that could impact their nutritional health.  Most common habits that have a negative impact are excess sugar, processed food and low vegetable intake.  Some foods like white bread act as an anti-nutrient and will not replenish needed minerals and vitamins.  I also look to identify hidden food sensitivities and improve assimilation of nutrients with healthy digestive habits.

My clients are not always aware of the fact that the medications they take may deplete one or more nutrients.  Here are the most common nutrient-depleting medications I encounter in my practice…Image result for medications

Statins (Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol) – can increase an individual’s need for CoQ10 and magnesium and possibly L-Carnitine.
Protein Pump Inhibitors (PPI) (Pantoprazole, Prilosec, Prevacid) – Major depletions include Magnesium, B12. Minor depletions include Calcium, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc.
H2 Blockers (Zantac, Pepcid, Tagamet) – Major depletions include B12. Minor depletions include Calcium, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc.
Diabetes medication (Metformin, Glucophage, Prandin) – Major depletions include Folic Acid, B12. Minor depletions include Thiamine.
Diuretics (Lasix, Lozol, HCTZ) – Major depletions include Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Thiamine. Minor depletion include B6, Vitamin C.
Oral contraceptives (Ortho-Tricyclen, Yasmin, Aubra, Lutera) – Major depletions include Folic Acid, Magnesium. Minor depletions include Thiamine, B6, Vitamin C, Zinc.
Prednisone (Prednisone) – Major depletions include Calcium, Chromium, Magnesium, Vitamin D. Minor depletions include Zinc.
Antibiotics (Amoxycillin, Penicillin) – Major depletions include Potassium, Vitamin K. Minor depletions include Biotin, Folic Acid, B12, B6, Thiamine, Riboflavin.

Here is an in-depth article on this topic.

Need a Supplement Review?

Do you want to review your medications and supplements with Rebecca? Schedule a  45-minute consult, supplement tune-up with Rebecca here.

Bread Substitutes

Sandwiches are a go to lunch for so many.  And let’s face it they are easy to transport and a familiar meal.  For most of my clients, it is a good idea to pass on the bread basket to achieve personal health goals.  Some common goals are…


 1) Reduce inflammation

2) Lose weight, lose belly fat

3) Optimize antioxidants and nutrients

4) Support a healthy microbiome and overall gut health

5) Increase energy, reduce sugar cravings

6) Optimize cholesterol and blood sugar

I am sure 200 years ago the bread was very different, more dense, more nutritious, less sweet, less chemicals, homemade. But today’s bread is different, often fortified, sugar added, highly refined, GMO’s, glyphosates and more.  There are so many creative ways to substitute bread with vegetables.  Here are a few of my favorites…

Splurging & Saving

Sometimes healthy food costs more but not always.  Eating in season and eating unprocessed, whole fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains is not particularly expensive.  Here is a list of my favorite items to save on and favorite foods to splurge on.
4 foods I like to save on
  1. Cabbage – This cruciferous vegetable is one of the least expensive vegetables to purchase and tastes great in coleslaw or simply sauteed with butter or coconut oil, salt and caraway seeds.
  2. Water – I don’t buy water (unless I am thirsty and forgot my water bottle).  I don’t like the plastic bottles and creating waste.  So I save by drinking water at home from my faucet.  We have a sink mounted filter and several re-usable water bottles.
  3. Make my morning beverage at home.  According to the USA Today Coffee Calculator tool, the cost for at home brew for 30 years is $867- compare that to 30 years of coffee at Starbucks for a whopping $22,995!  I don’t drink coffee but even making tea at home will save moneImage result for trader joe's frozen wild blueberriesy and reduce intake of added sugars!
  4. Frozen wild blueberries – I like the ones at Trader Joe’s, They maintain their shape and firmness even when defrosted.  Blueberries are a powerhouse superfood for memory, heart health and preventing diabetes.  I like to buy them year round so getting frozen helps me save money.
4 foods I like to splurge on
  1. Coyo yogurt (plain) – Living in a dairy-free house translates to minimal yogurt options.  Most of the dairy-free yogurts have sugars, additives and don’t taste great.  Coyo yogurt changed all that! With only 3 ingredients – coconut, tapioca and probiotics, this medicinal food is delicious.  It packs a hefty caloric punch (400 kcal per container) so a little can go a long way.
  2. Nuttzo Organic PowerFuel – I love this product because it mixes 7 amazing nuts and seeds into a delicious butter.  A great boost to minerals and healthy fats, eat with apple or celery for a healthy snack.  Trader Joe’s has a cheaper version that is not organic.
  3. Sustainable healthy fish –  This is a challenging topic because there are so many elements to making smart fish choices.  Wild? Farm raised? Geographic location?  Mercury level?  Read this great article to get the low down.  Whole Foods has partnered with Seafood Watch to ensure sustainable fish choices.
  4. Maitake mushrooms – I love going to the health food store and seeing fresh maitake mushrooms – also called hen of the woods – available for purchase. They have such a delicate flavor, are great for fighting cancer, improving outcome with infectious disease and so much more. I substitute maitake in recipes that call for mushrooms like lasagna, mushroom and barley soup, etc

Image result for maitake mushrooms