#71 Conscious Eating & Sugar-Free Cooking - with Liv Kaplan
The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast
"The connection we have with food is so much more than just what's on your plate. 90% of what we eat and how we approach food all comes from your mind. That's really where I started discovering what I call the 'spirituality of food'. Because when you're making changes in someone's diet or life it really has to start from your mind."Liv Kaplan | Nutritionist & Sugar-Free Recipe Creator Tweet This!
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In Episode 71 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas, Kate Callaghan and their guest, Liv Kaplan discuss how to practise mindful eating and switch to sugar-free cooking.
- The importance of connecting with your food & how the heck to start
- Eating mindfully
- The balance and journey of being spiritual and consuming animal products
- Owning your own dietary choices without dogma or judgement (for yourself or others)
- Seeing the good in food to reduce food anxiety
- Liv’s approach to making real food taste bloody delicious
- Getting more veg in at breakfast
- Truth behind “sugar free” marketing
- The best sweeteners for sugar free baking
- How Liv incorporates her (truly) sugar-free treats into her diet
- Info on Liv’s eBook creations and latest cooking show Lush Eats
- Are you looking for 1-to-1 support and a step-by-step healing process to overcome your chronic gut health issues? Take a look at my signature program, “Gut Rescue” today.
Nutritionist & Sugar-Free Recipe Creator
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:34
Hey guys, it’s Nat here. Before we jump into today’s podcast interview, I wanted to introduce you to our guest and tell you a little bit more about Liv for those of you who don’t know her. So, Liv Kaplan is a nutritionist and passionate foodie with a keen eye for all things health and wellness. Her recipes focus on mood-boosting and blood sugar balancing goodness, and she believes eating well should easy and effortless, not stressful. If she’s not getting creative in the kitchen, you can find her getting salty in the ocean and getting Zen on the yoga mat, or picking up fresh produce from the local farmers market. This interview with Liv was so good. We spoke about so many amazing topics that I think you guys will find it super interesting. She’s also been kind enough to give us a discount code to her latest E-book and the discount code is Natalie. So, have a listen to that when she tells you about that and where to find it. The other thing I wanted to quickly mention is that unfortunately there have been crazy construction work going up, going on above my apartment. So, in the first five minutes or so of the episode, there is a little bit of background noise. But I promise you it settles down and gets much more clear off from here on in. So, enjoy the podcast with Liv, and make sure you go and follow her on Instagram to keep up with all her goodness. Hey guys, welcome back to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. I just forgot to hit record. So, we have to start over. Today, I am missing Kate but I am lucky enough to be joined by Liv Kaplan also known as Livin Bondi, which by the way Liv, well first, welcome, and secondly, what are you going to do if you don’t live in Bondi?
Liv Kaplan 2:22
You know, I get that question all the time. I don’t really know, I’ll let you know when I moved out of Bondi. But I like living here. But um, thanks for having me.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:31
No worries. It’s such a, does anyone ever get confused and think it’s like Livin Bondi?
Liv Kaplan 2:36
Yeah, I don’t know. I think like a lot of people don’t actually understand the part that it’s my name.
Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, yeah. That’s true.
Like, oh, I get it now because your name is Liv. I thought it was like because you live in Bondi but yeah, but I don’t know. We’ll see where that goes.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:56
Yeah. I suppose it could follow you. It’s like at least the first part would remain the same. Like you could just be like a live in Byron or live in wherever else is nice to live.
Yeah, totally. I love how Byron was the one you go to because everyone’s like just like straight up to Byron.
Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, totally. Well, I suppose it’s like a similar-ish like health vibe, but just Byron’s getting so much busier these days.
Liv Kaplan 3:22
Yeah. Because everyone from Bondi is there.
Natalie K. Douglas
I call it ByRondi.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:25
Oh, I love it. So, true. How funny. Well, I am definitely going to keep stalking you. And if you change location, I’m going to check out what your Instagram handle changes too. I love it. So, we always start the podcast with a bit of a random question. And the one I have for you today is what would your last meal be? And I know as a nutritionist and a foodie, you’re gonna struggle with this, but I’m just going to put it out there and you have you can choose like a main and a dessert. How about that?
Liv Kaplan 3:54
Oh, that’s a good one. But do you want like healthy stuff or just?
Natalie K. Douglas 3:57
Oh, no. Like, it’s your last meal, like nothing that you eat is going to have any impact.
Liv Kaplan 4:02
Oh, that’s easy. Okay. I definitely like a proper authentic Italian pizza.
Natalie K. Douglas 4:07
Liv Kaplan 4:09
Like on the like the proper like 24-hour dough and like with the cheese, like that would definitely be my last meal. And dessert would probably have.
Natalie K. Douglas 4:19
Oh. Good choices. Good choices. I am, I always think about this. And I’m always like, what would my last meal be but I end up turning it into like a massive feast. But I think part of my last meal would definitely be crispy sweet potato wedges with aioli because it’s like my favorite food ever. I get like withdrawals if I don’t have it for like couple of weeks, just intense, but I prefer them when they like baked the chips, like the wedges instead of deep fry them because otherwise, they always deep fry and really shitty oils. And I can taste it. It just tastes like a bit off or you might be like it makes me feel sick whereas.
Liv Kaplan 4:56
I know. I know what you mean, it’s the oil like coats your mouth.
Natalie K. Douglas
I totally, yeah.
Natalie K. Douglas 5:02
Yeah, I have that like hangover feeling without actually having a hangover, could just be me though. Oh, too funny. Alright, so I really wanted to get you on the podcast to chat about, like a couple of things that you talk about a fair bit that really interests me. So, the first one is about the spirituality of food or the connection that we have without food. And I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this and why you actually think connecting with our food is important and what does it even mean?
Liv Kaplan 5:36
Yeah, I think, um, I mean, when I finished my studies, I sort of was trying to decide what to do with it, whether that’s in clinic or something else with my nutrition degree. But I basically came down to the, I decided that, um, it’s so much more than just what’s on your plate. Like, really, I think 90% of the stuff of what we eat, and how we approach fruit all comes from your mind. So, that’s really where I started discovering, I mean, what I call the spirituality of food or just the connection you have with it. Because when you’re making a change in someone’s diet or life, it really has to all start from your mind, I think. And you know, we all know that broccoli is good for you and Coke is not bad. It’s why do we choose certain things and all the different things that go into that. So, that’s really how I got into it. Yeah.
Natalie K. Douglas 6:27
Yeah, I love that. And I think it’s, it’s funny because we have become so disconnected with our food. And I think for so many reasons. I know, for me, I just, I grew up with a massive eating disorder for a really long time. And I just saw food as calories. And I feel like that’s what gets perpetuated through the media, and through social pressure, and all that kind of stuff. And it just becomes really hard to start reconnecting. But I guess the follow-up question to that is your really about like, if people don’t actually get like, get the whole connection to their food thing. How do you feel like they could start like connecting without their food, or start even just exploring the idea of being more conscious around what they’re consuming, and what it actually means to connect with their food?
Liv Kaplan 7:20
Yeah, I think a few mantras are really sort of important, like just simple things you can say, I mean, no one, you need only to like meditate for half an hour before you eat, it’s really something that you can incorporate easily. And I think changing your perspective from what like the negative energy that surrounds food at the moment, and even if a lot of people that are into their health, because a lot of them do come from eating disorder backgrounds, or they just consume so much content about calories and macros and this and that, and whatever else people are telling them. I think there’s a lot of stress when they come to the table because they’re like, oh, it’s just too many calories. And they just dissect that and then they’re concerned and then they’re stressed in many different things. And I really think that you absorb that negative energy when you are eating. So, like the first thing regardless of the food that you’re eating is just to aye, be grateful. I know you guys talk a lot about gratitude and just how important it is. And just be grateful for the food that you have. And then that food literally gives you life. That’s that was something that I say to myself, I just say, how lucky am I to be able to eat this food that literally gives me life like I wouldn’t be here without it. And having that really allows you to change the types of foods you eat as well because you naturally go towards more wholesome foods that come from the ground rather than packaged and processed and calorie counted things in packets. So, you know, really changing to a positive perspective and finding a mantra that resonates with you. So yeah, as I said, for me, it’s, it’s that what I eat is literally becoming me and it’s giving my life and it’s giving me happiness, which is sort of everything that I want in life.
Natalie K. Douglas 8:59
Yeah. It’s so interesting, isn’t it? Like when you actually stopped to think like, your food is made up of, you know, micronutrients and macronutrients, and so are your cells. And you’re so right in that, you’re without food, we would not be able to exist, I think it’s such a simple thing to come back to. I think it’s really difficult for people to keep their eyes like eyes on their own lane, though. And especially when there’s like so many different diets and approaches to eating out there, which you know, to a large degree, all of them have benefits and all of them work for some people. But how do you navigate that? Like, how do you keep your eyes on your own lane in that way and not get overwhelmed by what’s working for other people? Like, have you ever struggled with that? And what do you do to kind of manage that?
Liv Kaplan 9:46
Certainly. And for me, I mean, I say being centered is just the most important thing because if you’re not in that, like you know, because I think that your inner wisdom, like you actually know what’s good for you whether it’s some skew of this diet, or that diet, or this type of food, or that type of food, and it’s going to change depending on your situation in your life, and where you live, and the season. So, I think you’ve got this inner wisdom that knows, but most people just aren’t tapped into it because they spend so much time consuming, you know, and I work in social media. So, I’m part of that as well, like, where everyone’s just bombarded with content to consume all the time, and you never actually get that chance to tune in. And a lot of people when they take their lunch break, they consume more because they want to watch something or listen to a podcast or something. So, it’s even more consuming while they’re eating. So, it’s really important to find whatever it is that gets you centered. So, I know for me, it’s like a good morning routine, and exercise and the ocean will always get me centered, yoga and things like that. So, whatever it is, I know a lot of people it’s surfing. So, I often, and also movement, as well, I often, I’ve got this routine, whereas before lunch I’ll have like a little like expressive dance so I’ll just put on some music that feels good. And you suddenly just come into this, like mealtime with so much more peace, and it’s so much less stressful and you feel really, really elevated and good. And then it’s really easy to choose what to eat. You know, I always use this analogy. If you’re in a party and someone offers you a plate of food, and you’re not feeling centered, you are going to be like, oh, it’s vegan, which is good. Because that blog, I said that but then I’m my you know, Jim told me that I have kind of eat carbs. So, I can’t do that. And you just going to go drive yourself nuts. And you’ll keep trying to find like excuses and something about like trying to validate your decisions. And when you just tuned in, you can make those decisions whether it’s, oh no, thank you. I’m actually not hungry or if it’s like that looks delicious. Thank you for making, I’d love to try it. It’s always going to change. So, tuning in is really important.
Natalie K. Douglas 11:45
That is so so true. And so funny on that ecstatic dancing. I’m just picturing like, people just integrating that into their workday just feel like just a minute before my lunch break. Can someone just put on some tune? That would be awesome.
Yeah, I love them.
Natalie K. Douglas
I feel like you should start a movement. I’ll definitely join in. I’ve actually recently started doing dance classes. Like and I’m not someone who grew up dancing as in like doing dancing as a sport. I just love moving my body and I started doing that and it’s such like a great way to play and to bring your like, bring you back to the present moment. I just, I definitely think there’s something, you know, definitely with moving energy in our body. And the other thing I often get people to do before they sit down to eat if they’re not in a place where life they can, they can do something like that. It’s just take a few deep belly breaths because so often we’re operating most of our day through this, like sympathetic nervous system, kind of, you know, flight or fight response kind of thing. And, you know, we can’t digest in that state. So, I’m so with you in, you know, centering and what you said about being at a party and being offered food, it’s so true, isn’t it? And I feel like food is such like a triggering topic for a lot of people, even if like I know, for me, if I ever say no to a food because I just don’t feel like it and someone’s offered it to me or we’re out and someone’s like you ordering anything. And maybe, you know, I’d already had something a couple of hours before and I don’t just want to eat for the sake of it, it can be really triggering for people. And I think there’s, I definitely have struggled with that in the past in terms of not letting other people’s perceptions of food and like my triggering them affect me, I don’t know, if you find that, but I just.
Liv Kaplan 13:36
Well, I’m totally with you on saying that. That’s something that I’ve had to work on as well. But the biggest realization that I’ve had is that you’re totally entitled to choose the foods that work and don’t work for you. And you don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I think, you know, a lot of especially nutritionists in the space that are kind of anti-diet, which is totally like, good but they sort of have this need to prove to everyone will they eat everything and they eat. And I’m just like, I don’t have anything to prove, like I’m totally confident in my decisions that I, I choose the food that makes me feel amazing. And my life is good. I don’t feel like socially isolated, which you know, is something that I’ve experienced in the past from being too strict. And now I’m not that strict anymore. So, and I’m confident in those decisions. So, I just, yeah, I like to think that you’re totally entitled to do whatever it is that works for you.
Natalie K. Douglas
And if you do that with confidence, it actually doesn’t trigger other people. It’s when you do that with an energy like, oh, I’m doing the wrong thing. And that energy just transfers and people can feel that. But if you’re just like, peacefully, like, no, thank you. Like, I think that’s really important. That energy that you have in yourself when you’re saying that.
Natalie K. Douglas 14:45
Yeah, I so agree. And it’s so funny, you brought up like some of the nutritionists and practitioners that are kind of going in the opposite direction of like, you know, undieting people. And I think there’s really good intention behind it. But at the same time, I feel like, it’s still just another form of, like, approach to food, like in terms of it’s, it’s, it’s almost like, okay, it makes people feel like if they do genuinely want to avoid a food because it makes them not feel very good, then all of a sudden, they feel like oh my God, do I have an unhealthy relationship with food because I’m not eating absolutely everything. And I think you’re so right in just being confident and comfortable with what works for you. And also, open to that changing over time. Like for me, my diet, and what works for me, definitely changes, like depending on you know, my level of activity, how stressed or busy I am. All these different, even the types of activity I’m doing. Like, for example, like when I’m on holidays, and I’m more relaxed, I can totally get away with intermittent fasting and it works really well. But when I’m like, super, super busy, under a lot of stress, doing a lot of activity, it’s not something that is like a net benefit to me. And I think that’s like the, I guess the best thing to do is really to just tune in and know what works for you and know that it’s not always going to be the thing that has a sexy label or you know that someone else is doing.
Liv Kaplan 16:19
Yeah, and yeah. It’s actually, it’s so hard to kind of one of the hardest questions I get is when people want to know, like, what I eat in a day or just what I eat in general, because although I’d like have a style of eating, it does, it changes so much. And it’s really hard to kind of answer that question because I’m like, just depending on what’s happening and what’s going on, and what I’m doing and who I’m with, like, it’s really and that’s how I like to live. It’s fluid. So, I think it’s. Yeah.
Natalie K. Douglas 16:47
Yeah. And it’s funny, isn’t it? Because I bet if you eat something that’s not something typical for you. People like, oh my God, does that mean I can eat that because you eat that? I don’t care what you eat.
Natalie K. Douglas
So, funny. I get that all the time because I, like people know that a lot of my friends obviously know that I am a nutritionist or dietitian, and they’ll be like, oh, like, are you ordering that? Does that mean like, so it’s okay to eat? Like, I don’t care. I really don’t care what you eat or order unless you’re paying me for my advice, because you genuinely want me to help you navigate the messages that your body is already sending you. I’m not like, I’m not watching you and judging you. I think people are really like, I feel that I feel they’re like, kind of discomfort sometimes being around me around food I’m like, oh, guys, it’s all right.
Liv Kaplan 17:41
Natalie K. Douglas 17:43
Anyway, so I guess kind of another question that popped up for me and that I often ponder on myself a little bit is, how do you balance the world of being quite a spiritual person and eating some animal protein? And I know, it’s a bit of a controversial topic, but I’m really interested to hear your personal experience with these and maybe any books or people you’ve kind of, you know, learn from or who have inspired some of your beliefs or thoughts around it.
Liv Kaplan 18:13
Yeah, I mean, such a good topic because I was vegan for a year, and then I was vegetarian for two years, but I still ate eggs and fish, and then I was fully vegan for a year. So I mean, at the time, like, that was sort of the trend, so of course, I jumped on that being you know, someone in my young 20s. Um, so yeah, so I have been there but then the switch back to eating animal products, was actually how I discovered my philosophy around spirituality and food and connecting with your food, it wasn’t the other way around. And a big part of that was, I started reading a lot into medicinal mushrooms. And my friends, the guys at Lifecycle up in Byron, they sort of opened my eyes to like how amazing these mushrooms are. And I started consuming a lot of content around that, like Michael Pollan and Paul Stamets. And I was just like, these are such intelligent organisms, I suppose, like the fungi kingdom. And then I started approaching all other sort of living beings like that, like all plants, I just think they’re super intelligent. And then all of a sudden, like, I’ve sourced all on like a more equal playing field, like plants, animals, and people. And, like a big part of I think what we all used to do when we all went through that sort of vegan vegetarian phase was that, we just like pump ourselves full of all the grains and vegetables, which is like a typical vegan diet without actually being grateful and taking in just how amazing those plants are, that they, as I said earlier in this interview, that they give us life and all that stuff because we just like pump them in. And then a lot of people who are on with calorie-restricted diets, they’d like chow down on carrots and celery purely because they were low calorie, instead of being really grateful for that sort of eating experience and what that food brings you. So, that was kind of how I got into it. And then I started reading, I suppose a lot about mental health. And I decided from a health perspective to bring those animal foods back into my diet because of the nourishment that they provide. I mean, I really do think that it’s, is good for most people. So yeah, and then I kind of had no choice, but to sort of change my perspective. And it, I felt so grateful. And like, it really made quite a difference in the type of animal foods that I choose. You know, I like wild and grass-fed, and I’m still quite, well, I’m extremely picky about those things but often I’ll eat vegetarian when I’m out. Just because I’m sort of unsure about what kind of life those animals have lived. And I think it’s a beautiful part of life. And then even I live in New Zealand for a while and hunting is a big thing there. And a lot of my friends back here in Sydney would see my friends hunting and they were like, what the hell?Like, that’s disgusting. I can’t believe your friends pose with dead animals. And I’m like, that is like, but yeah they had chicken for dinner the night before, but it was just bought as a chicken breast in a, you know, plastic container in the supermarket. And I’m like, that is the circle of life, like that is what I, If you’re going to eat meat, you need to know like, where it comes from. And I think hunting is a beautiful part of that whole journey. And it just yeah, it makes me sort of grateful for the fact that I’m able to eat foods that give me my health and my life. Yeah,
Natalie K. Douglas 21:33
Yeah, no, I love that. And I so resonate with it, because I think, you know, I am someone who’s also like, quite deeply spiritual. And have, I haven’t been a vegan I have, like going through periods while I was a vegetarian but that was more because I just generally wasn’t eating much food at all so. But again, and not really. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s interesting, I think it’s about for me, it’s about conscious consumption and same deal I am so picky with the kind of animal protein that I consume. And I think it’s about taking what you need, consuming, like consumption, consumptioning it? Consuming it gratefully and consciously, and making sure that you’re supporting people who are doing it in the right way. And, you know, I feel like, at least in my, in my personal experience, a lot of people who choose to follow a vegan diet, absolutely do it with good intention but I feel like the whole picture isn’t always taken into consideration. And of course, that’s not always the case, there are some really well-informed vegans. But for some, like for some people, there’s almost just this like blind faith that the production of grains and you know, soy, and all these kind of vegan foods don’t have an impact on animal life. And I don’t believe that that’s true because if you think about the mass clearing of land that’s done to make way for monocrops, there’s so much life and biodiversity, both in terms of animals and plants that are, you know, completely wiped out from that. So, I feel like whatever way you choose to eat there are consequences. And it comes back to being as conscious as you can around, you know, around those decisions, and not taking anything at face value. Like there are so many bloody documentaries on Netflix, about, you know, vegan diets, about paleo diets, about this diet, about that diet, but no one ever asked a question, like, who’s producing these? And also, what’s the other side to the story because there’s always two sides. But I guess, you know, a middle ground isn’t a sexy kind of, you know, setting up camp in one of the two kind of extremes. I think that a lot of us feel want to feel like we belong, like somewhere. I don’t know if that rings true for you as well.
Liv Kaplan 23:56
Absolutely. It’s definitely that big belonging thing. And, you know, it is very convenient for people to just like, oh, I’m vegan and then like, all the problems are solved. But unfortunately, that’s not the case, like you do really be conscious about what you’re consuming but we do crave that convenience. And it’s like, so nice and easy that we just made one change, and that likewise totally saving the world. And Sarah Wilson, I think she have some perspectives on eating meat and the environment are something that I learned a lot from as well because she’s super environmental and but she’s also, um, she writes a lot about that sort of exact thing that we were talking about the vegetarian versus meat-eating. So, yeah, and I sort of see that if because I do eat meat, and I don’t eat huge quantities at all, because I don’t think that’s healthy. But just having that small amount, it sort of allows me not to have to pump myself full of grains and loads of fruit and all that stuff that I was eating before. So, I actually like eat, you know, it’s allowed me to sort of like condense the, it’s just really like a good quality meat and local vegetables, and then good quality oils, and things like that. And it’s really simplified my diet a lot. I don’t need to like pump myself full of different supplements and things like that. The big part of me is eating nose to tail as well. I think we really overdo it on the muscle meats, and we don’t eat enough of the awful and the sort of everything else, the bones, and I think it’s actually probably get a wrong combination of amino acids. I think incorporating the broths and like eating the whole animal, you know, if it’s, and I also want to dive, and feed the human race, like we really should be using every part of it and that’s sort of what’s healthy. So, yeah.
Natalie K. Douglas 25:41
Yeah, totally. And that’s what was, you know, traditionally done as well, like, if you and even if you look at any kind of cultures now that are still living in that kind of traditional way, they all eat nose to tail for sure, like and I think it’s, it’s something so foreign for us because we are so removed from where our food comes from, for sure. And so many people would have that same reaction to, you know, the hunting, and then, like, with a complete contrast of, well, you just bought, you know, Lilydale chicken from the supermarket and cooked and ate it, like, it’s not that simple, I think, you know, it’s you have to come to terms with the fact that whatever you eat, like, there is some death happening, but there’s also some life being created too, in terms of yourselves. And, you know, it really is just this like, you know, cycle of give and take. And I think that you can’t, like you can’t get away from that, like, that’s just how it is. And so it’s really about doing it in a really conscious way and learning as much as you can and making informed decisions and not judging anyone who, you know, isn’t quite there yet. I think everyone’s just doing the best with what they know, at the time. And I think that’s really important to remember wherever we’re having these kind of discussions.
Liv Kaplan 27:00
Yeah, exactly. I think that non-judgmental part is massive, especially in this topic of conversation and I think if you’re, like, you’re confident in what you believe, then you just, you naturally feel peaceful and you don’t need to kind of shut anyone else for their choices, you just sort of go about your life and do what’s right. And in terms of the circle of life, you know, I think, you know, we also we have bacteria in our guts, you know, and we give them life and we give them food. So, they’re completely other separate organism. And then if you are buried when you die, like bacteria eat your body, and it like sort of stops again.
Natalie K. Douglas 27:35
Oh, my God, my head.
Liv Kaplan 27:38
Give and take. It’s like, so yeah, I think it’s a beautiful transfer of energy. And I think we really need to, like, as with everything that I do, I try and like, take a positive skew on everything and just look at everything for how beautiful it is, instead of, oh this shit. And this is going to kill you.
Natalie K. Douglas
All this stuff. Like, it’s just so much negative energy around food.
Natalie K. Douglas
And stuff with it, like just look at it positively for once.
Natalie K. Douglas 28:04
Yeah, I know. We don’t need more of that, like, I totally agree with you. It’s, it’s just, it can be really. I mean, if you look for things to, you know, kind of be down about or be worried about, you’ll find them wherever then they’re flip side, as you’re saying, like, if you look for the positives in everything that you’re consuming, you’re also going to find them and it’s really just, if you’re going to consume, you might as well consume in a happy, relaxed, grateful state, because that’s going to add to your health, as well. So, I think that that’s really important. Now, I want to shift gears a little bit. And I feel like there’s this a bit of a perception that we nutritionist get all Master Chef every night in the kitchen, but contrary to popular belief, we are actually just regular humans too. So, I’m really interested to hear how you approach creating delicious food daily and if you have any secrets that you can share with the listeners?
Liv Kaplan 29:00
Yeah, I definitely am no Master Chef. And I think most people actually shocked to the little amount of time that I spent in the kitchen, considering all my work stuff. But um, yeah, I suppose with eating well, I kind of have a formula that just sort of works for me. And now it’s a habit. So, I don’t need to think too much about it. And so when I grocery shop, I always get and I grocery shop in small amount. So, I’m because I’m shopping for like one or two most of the time. My situation is quite different to people with kids and things like that. So, I can’t quite make a judgment on that but I just go to the farmers market and I get lots of greens and I tend to stick to the brassica family because those are the ones that I just gravitate naturally towards. So, I get lots of cabbages, broccolis, broccolinis, all those sorts of things. And then I get all other sort of colors of vegetables is my second part. And then I just buy good quality proteins and then when I’m making them up, like it’s just really easy to prepare, roasting, steaming, or just a quick sauté in the pan. I’m saying this because it’s winter now. So, I’m like got my head in warm foods and then, I stick on a protein. So, most of the time that’s eggs. They’re massive saving because they’re so quick. And then canned fish as well. I know are like canned food is not the best thing. But certainly like I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a staple in my diet for those sort of Tuesday lunches, we just want to throw something together that’s nourishing keeps you full. And yeah, and then the only things that I really prep like I think protein is the hardest thing because veggies are really easy to throw together. But so, that’s why canned fish and eggs is sort of a savior. And prepping, I’m not much for prepper like at all, which a lot of people are shocked at all. And make like a batch of pesto or a tahini sauce or something that I’ll just keep in the fridge. But for me, like taste-wise, I don’t really need many sauces and things that I’m really happy with just olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. And that’s like, I’ve sort of trained my taste buds just to want that simple food, which I find digested really well. So, I don’t really need to kind of have all those sources in the fridge. But yeah.
Natalie K. Douglas 31:07
Yeah, I love that. And I, I think keeping it simple is sometimes just like the easiest way, sometimes it just can get way too complicated. And I do think that, you know, meal prep can come in handy when you are someone who has more people to feed or if you’re someone that doesn’t have as much time at home or running in and running out. But definitely, just having some, even just having some kind of formula like you do in the back of your mind of like, this is how my plate should look in terms of this is what makes me feel good. And just kind of having that rough plan, like not having something that’s so you know, rigid that you kind of ever deviate, but having at least an idea. Otherwise, I feel like you can get to this place where it’s lunchtime and you’re starving, and then you’re going in your head like, do I want these, do I want that, how do I? Like should I do this? I feel like there’s that kind of feeling around mealtimes which can just create poor decision-making and anxiety, which is the exact opposite of what we want when we’re consuming food.
Liv Kaplan 32:15
Yeah, definitely. I like to keep those sort of more interesting foods when I’m out with friends and on the weekend and things like that. So, during the week, I keep it pretty simple unless I’m out. But yeah, I think, I mean, I think the biggest thing really, I think learning to cook properly is a massive thing. Because, you know, I also don’t want to eat bland food. And if you give me a plate of plain steamed broccoli and a spring water like there is no way I’m gonna eat with that or stick to it. Like I’d go straight to like the yummy food afterwards. So, but it’s certainly like healthy food doesn’t mean to taste bad. So, I think make learning how to prep food properly. So, it actually tastes good and you actually want to eat it is the biggest key.
Natalie K. Douglas 33:02
Yeah, totally. I think there’s, I mean, I feel like the perception of healthy food being tasteless. It’s slowly kind of starting to dissipate a little bit, but I still feel like it’s really important. Yeah, like you said, to learn how to cook like that are some clients that I have which no judgment, but because no one’s ever shown them but don’t even know how to roast a chicken or roast vegetables. Like how long do I put them for? What do I put it on? Do I put oil on like straight away? Do I salt and pepper them before or after? How do I use the slow cooker? And I feel like it’s it certainly isn’t rocket science. Like I am not a good cook. I can prepare food and I prepare it in a way that tastes good to me. But I’m definitely no Master Chef and I think it’s just really learning about the basics because you know the rest you don’t really need like it’s all good.
Liv Kaplan 33:53
Yeah, exactly. And I’m definitely I’m no Master Chef. I just, I always say to people, I don’t like cooking that much. I just like eating.
Natalie K. Douglas
I want food that tastes good.
Natalie K. Douglas 34:04
Yeah, I’m exactly the same. I’m like, like, sometimes I get in a bit of a flow in the kitchen. I do feel like it’s therapeutic. But in the context of what life usually looks like, which is, you know, relatively easy for me. I don’t like love preparing food. But I love that at the end of preparing the food and cooking, I get to eat it like you said like because I just adore eating like it’s one of my favorite things ever. So, you kind of have to cook if you want to eat. Well, you don’t have to, but I feel like, I like being part of the cooking process because I like, like it for me that’s a form of connecting to my food, like going to the farmer’s markets picking out the vegetables, and then actually taking time, like spending time with them, which sounds so funny. Spending time with my veggies, preparing them like it makes me happy. And it makes me feel like yeah, I’m part of that process instead of just like oh, here it is. Okay, cool.
Liv Kaplan 35:00
Yeah, totally hundred percent agree with everything.
Natalie K. Douglas 35:04
Yeah. Do you like spending time with your veggies too, Liv? Oh, I’m glad I found a friend. Um, alright, so let’s chat about breakfast for a second because I know that, you know, I really try and encourage my clients to get a good sort of veggies in at this time. And most people are quite accustomed to things like yogurt, cereal, or toast. Even in the whole foodie kind of world, we can end up going down the path pretty quickly of like, sweet-faced things. But what are some ways or ideas people can get more veggies in at breakfast time?
Liv Kaplan 35:44
Yeah, I mean, I think eggs are going to be like the savior here because I don’t eat sweet food. Like, I would never dream of waking up and having like something sweet. Like, I want to savory but I used to be obviously, I used to like only need sweet in the morning. But I must sort of big fan of what I do is just chuck a whole heap of spinach in a hot pan. I’ll put the lid on, so it kind of steams. And then, I just crack like three eggs straight into the pan once it’s steamed. And it literally like, it seems kind of like it takes longer because you have to get out of pan and turn on the stove. But it’s the quickest thing to make but I think I honestly think it would be quicker than making a bowl of granola or smoothie or something like that when you’re gonna watch the Blender. So, I think yeah, things like that. What else um, you can like I suppose prep things in advance. Like, I love to kale if I’m prepping things in advance because I massage it with like lots of lemon juice, salt, and olive oil, and it really breaks down those fibers. And it stores really, really well in the fridge and actually taste better the next day because like sort of mopped up all that olive oil and salt. So, if I’m prepping things, that’s certainly what I go to is kale because I know, like we all know that dressed spinach and sort of those other leafy greens are disgusting once they’ve sat in the fridge for a few hours.
Natalie K. Douglas
So, yeah. If I was prepping something I definitely do a massage kale with boiled eggs, probably because I just traveled quite well and I always peel before I put them in the fridge because I think. I thought if you put them in the fridge when the shell is still on and then peel them later, it stinks so.
Natalie K. Douglas 37:16
So, good. It does. I was like oh, why do you do that? And then you answered it. Yeah, okay, cool.
Liv Kaplan 37:19
People in offices are like, I can’t do boiled eggs because it stinks out the office. And I’m like, I get that. But no one wants the smell of like, boiled eggs. But yeah.
Natalie K. Douglas 37:30
Yeah. I know. I know. It used to be like in school like you couldn’t have like, well, for me. I was like, I was so embarrassed if I had like peanut butter or tuna because people will be like, what are you eating? Don’t judge me. Now, I’m like, I don’t care suck it up. This is what I like to eat. You can smell my eggs. I don’t care. But yeah, I love those tips. I think that’s really good. And I definitely have noticed a difference in my energy levels and concentration from switching to a sweet breakfast to a savory breakfast. And that’s something I try and do pretty much daily. Like maybe on the odd occasion I might make something sweet like a smoothie bowl or something like that. But most of the time it’s savory for me simply because it makes me feel a lot better. If I do have a smoothie for breakfast though, I don’t put a lot of fruit in it. If at all, I often put like frozen zucchini in it because it makes it creamy. If I’ve been to the gym and done like a workout right before, then I may put a little bit of fruit in there because that works well for my body. But I think what people can get in the habit of doing with smoothies is just like, it ends up being just like a massive sugar bomb and it’s this perception that it’s healthy like acai bowls are probably one of my biggest pet peeves. I think that it’s not because of, its because of the wrong perception that’s given by them. I think by all means if you know that there’s, you know, or most, I think it’s like 60 close to 60 grams of sugar, or maybe it’s 50. I can’t remember I’ll have to look that up. But if you know that and you’re choosing to eat it anyway, awesome. Good for you like you’re making informed decision. But if you’re just eating it because you’re like, oh, it sounds really healthy. It looks really healthy than I feel like I’m just like, stop like marketing these things wrong.
Liv Kaplan 39:22
Yeah, it’s crazy. I definitely I’m with you on the savory like, I sort of. I don’t mind like fruit and things like that but I tend to tailor oats towards the end of the day, like after lunch because if I have it in the morning, I just want sweet all day and I just, like it’s all I’m thinking about.
Natalie K. Douglas 39:38
Yeah, yep, yep, totally. Alright, so now that we’ve told everyone about not eating too much sweet food I actually want to talk about sweets. So, I’m interested in your opinion and experience in the food industry. And you know, the shit ton of marketing that goes into sugar-free treats I’m quoting there, are they all actually sugar-free? And what does it even mean? And what should people be looking out for when they’re being told something is sugar-free?
Liv Kaplan 40:06
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s safe to say the word sugar-free just sort of fall on deaf ears these days because they’re so overused. Kind of like the word fat-free back in the day. But yeah, in terms of sugar-free in terms of food products, there’s like real no regulation of what exactly that is because you can get those foods that are refined sugar-free. But they still often packed with dates, and maple syrup, and rice malt syrup, and agave, and coconut sugar. So, they don’t really and so, I don’t consider that sugar free personally, and some of those woo-woo products which rose to fame, like you know, a few years ago, when veganism became popular, and all this refined sugar stuff came out, you can have like 40 grams of sugar in one bar, which is insane. And I’m not opposed to those ingredients at all but if you’re kind of going there because you think it’s healthy, it’s really quite the same as having like a Mars bar. And sometimes they’ve even got more sugar than they’re like junk food counterpart. So, I think just knowing that and just I’ll eat those things occasionally. But I really eat them as a dessert. It’s not something that I’d have like for breakfast or as a healthy snack. If I can think like, like in terms of blood sugar, it’s still gonna spike your blood sugar and blood sugar imbalance is such a big problem as like, you know, in terms of your hormones and your mood and all that stuff. So, I tend to stay keep that stuff to desserts, like all those refined sugar-free stuff.
Natalie K. Douglas 41:35
Yeah, totally. I think it’s incredibly confusing, because a lot of us just read the front of labels and like, oh sugar-free. Cool. That’s really good. But, yeah, if you actually flip it around and look at, well, how many grams of sugar am I actually consuming here. And you know, 40 grams of sugar is like 10 teaspoons of sugar which is not, it’s like when you think about it. So, I think again, it’s not about not ever having them. It’s about recognizing how big of a pot they play in your diet and what effect that’s actually having on your ability to concentrate, on your hormones, like you said, on your mood, all these different types of things. Now, it doesn’t mean people have to miss out, which is what I want to talk about next because I am going to claim you as a sugar-free treat goddess and you’ve created some epic E-books and have just started a YouTube channel, which is amazing by the way. How do you approach creating sugar-free treats and what made it motivated you to actually get into this side of things?
Liv Kaplan 42:33
Ah, thank you so much. Um, yeah, I do. I’m in love creating desserts. So that’s, ever since I was a kid, all I’ve done is just baked all those things. But over the years, of course, my ingredients have changed a lot. But yeah, I basically started creating those recipes, because all the sugar-free recipes out there to me weren’t actually sugar-free. So, I’ve got quite a few specific sweeteners that I like to use. And for me, they’re ones that don’t spike your blood sugar. So, stevia and monk fruit are my favorite. And then occasionally, I’ll use the resveratrol, which doesn’t spike your blood sugar. And if I want something else, I use coconut sugar, which doesn’t spike your blood sugar but those are sort of more special occasions of recipes. But yeah, the stevia and the monk fruit are quite like. And I think the biggest thing with sugar-free treats is first of all to train your taste buds away from super sweet things. You know, so most of my recipes, they use the sweeteners to kind of enhance the flavor a little bit. But really, they focus on the natural sweetness of coconut and cacao and coconut oil and all those beautiful ingredients. So, you actually taste the food, and you taste the flavors. And you’re not just bombarded with this, like overly sweet almond yogurt, which is like attacks your sweet receptors and all you taste is sweet. I think fruit tastes are good. Like, why do we bombard it with sugar? So yeah, like my desserts are quite rich. And that’s how I like them because I think when they’re like that, they’re not overly sweet, they’re rich, and they’re tasty. You can really stop at one and you don’t get that. First of all, like from your blood sugar you don’t get that need to kind of eat sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet and keep eating. But it’s sort of like turns off those hunger signals and you really enjoy it. And then you can peacefully like finish and not feel the need to binge on other sugary desserts. So yeah, that’s sort of my thing with desserts. And I think, yeah, that’s for me, that’s really all I want to say.
Natalie K. Douglas 44:27
Yeah, no, I so like, I hear you because I don’t know about everyone else listening. But if I have like one of those quiet, sugary desserts, even if it’s like, quote-unquote, sugar-free, but uses a lot of dates or something, there’s no way I’m stopping at one. Like I’ll eat one and that will be my intention. And then I’ll put them away. And then I feel like I can literally hear them calling my name from the cupboard of a fridge and then like, you know, just ate them all and then they weren’t be there whereas like if it is something that is not really highly sugary and isn’t going to spike your blood sugar and then course that rapid, deep, and therefore craving, it is much easier to kind of keep tabs on yourself in that way. I think that’s definitely a way to do it. For sure because otherwise, you know, you’re only human, we only have so much willpower. And with sugar, it’s not like if you’re just relying on willpower, you know, it’s probably not the best strategy because that stuff runs out pretty quick. And it’s much better to as you said, retrain your taste buds in that way. And also make sure that you’ve got a healthy relationship with food and that food isn’t like a reward for you. I think that that’s something that a lot of people, myself included, have to unlearn like as children were rewarded with food and often with the foods that are quite, you know, sugary or highly palatable when we have to kind of untrain ourselves. And I think it’s a bit of a long process to do, but it’s definitely worthwhile. So, the other thing I wanted to ask you about is with your like baking and stuff, I noticed that you don’t use a lot of nut flowers, like as in like, you don’t use heaps and heaps of like almond flour or things like that, you tend to stick more towards maybe coconut flour or more nut-free stuff. Is there a reason you do that?
Liv Kaplan 46:25
Um, not really. I think it’s just if I want to eat like a heap of almonds, because like almond meal, for example. It’s so concentrated and not sort of you have like a dessert made from almond milk, you’re probably eating like, an insane amount of almonds that you would never eat normally, if you were just eating the whole almond. So, I think I don’t like to eat things that are just pure like almond milk. So, I would never eat that many almonds in one sitting. So, that’s why I stick to the things that I do. I do like, I like those things for baking, but probably not something I incorporate every day and I don’t like go crazy on nuts. Like I find it quite hard to digest. So, yeah, I think all my recipes literally came back just because of my own preferences. And I was like, okay, well, I need to like figure out something else. And there’s enough recipes out there, which is all just pure almond. So yeah, that’s the thing about the nuts.
Natalie K. Douglas 47:17
Yep, I agree with that. And I, the other thing I’d add to that, which I know Kate would say if she was here is that, if you get into that habit of consuming large amounts of nuts in the form of concentrated products in terms of heaps of like, almond spread, or heaps of almond-meal based products, you end up throwing off that omega-3 to omega-6 balance, and omega-being, you know, proinflammatory and we do need some of it. But omega-3 being anti-inflammatory. And if you just bombarding your body with heaps and heaps of nut products, then you’re going to throw off that balance especially because most of us don’t get enough omega-3 rich food. So, I think yeah, it’s a I like encourage people to see it as like a sometimes thing, not a staple that they replace every single thing with almond-meal-based products. Now with your kind of treats that you create, or sugar-free versions that are legitimately sugar-free. How do you incorporate them into your diet? Like is it something that you have daily? Is it something that you have a few times a week? Like how do you personally doing what works for you?
Liv Kaplan 48:21
I suppose it definitely depends on the recipe. So, like in my book, it’s split up into chapters, like the end chapter is like carrot cake, and chocolate fudge cake, and chocolate ganache slice. So, those things are definitely, definitely not everyday things. I think that they have a celebration on the weekends, people’s birthdays or you’ve got creating something. Like those are like, I still have them as treats and then I’ve got sort of like a different section where they’re like little tiny little bites that I like to have every day but the main ingredients of those are like coconut and chocolate basically. So, it’s cacao, butter, coconut butter, coconut cream cacao, those sort of little things that I’m happy to have every day. And then, like often, like a treat for me is just like 90% dark chocolate and like a big spoonful of coconut butter. So, that to me is like a dessert because it’s like, sweet, but I try and stay. I keep sweetness to a minimum. So, most of my little like, little tiny bite-size treats. I purely just made of those ingredients that I mentioned with no sweetener whatsoever. I give people a sweetener option because a lot of people don’t like the taste. They still haven’t like accustomed their taste buds to not having sweet but as I said before, I prefer to just have something rich and naturally sweet like coconut butter because it stops me from wanting sweet all day. So, yeah, that sort of, and those things I have every day. Whereas all the fun cakes and things, certainly not something that I advise people because it is easy. Like you can just sort of go from eating the shit version to the gluten-free sugar-free version every day and you’re still kind of relying on that crutch of something.
Natalie K. Douglas 50:00
Yeah. And it does end up creating out other more nutrient-dense food. So I think yeah, it’s totally about just keeping tabs on yourself in that way, like enjoying them for sure. And then yeah, using those are the ones that you’re mentioning as maybe an everyday thing as something that you know, you look forward to. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. So yeah, totally, totally on board with that. Now, speaking of your e-books, where can people actually get their hands on that? And also, you’ve just started a YouTube channel. So, can you tell people a little bit more about that, and you know, what’s coming up for you?
Liv Kaplan 50:35
Yeah. So, I’ve just launched that show, which I’m super excited about. And it’s basically, it’s basically a cooking show, which is out on YouTube. It’s called Lush Eats. And it’s, yeah, it’s a way for me to get across my recipes. And my biggest mission is to really inspire people to get back into the kitchen. Because, like we talked about before, there’s just so much negativity these days, especially in the health and nutrition industry. And it’s kind of taking away the beauty of making food and the beauty of eating. So, that’s really my mission with that show is to get people, especially young people, you know, I think cooking shows are a thing of the past. And it’s all these sort of older people. But I’m trying to I’m basically trying to bring back the trend of cooking shows and make it trendy for people to want to cook and especially young girls which I think is the biggest sort of market that really need to sort of nurture their relationship with food and bring more positivity back into that. So all my links, I suppose you can find like through my Instagram. But again, so I’ve got my e-book create, which is all my sugar-free desserts. And I’m working on one of the moment which is called Made and that one is, it’s the like lunches basically. So, it’s like what I make every day of like gut-health friendly. Lunches and just how to make those tastes good without spending too much time like fussing over the stove. So, those yeah, you can all get through my Instagram. They’re all at my website, but the link is to my Instagram, which is LivinBondi, and I’ve set your listeners out with a 20% discount code, which is Natalie so.
Natalie K. Douglas 52:06
Oh, thanks. Amazing. That’s awesome. And yeah, I actually, I’ve told you this before, actually, but I legitimately like in people’s notes will link them to your website and recipe and e-books when they’re like, oh, I just I really need something like as a treat to have and I’m like, okay, here you go. I’m not the rest of the creator here. So, I definitely thank you for helping my clients and my work too. And I’m so excited about yeah, your show. It looks awesome. I watched the first little episode the other day. And it’s, I feel like it is inspiring. After I watched it, I was like, I’m going to do some cooking. Even though like literally an hour before I was like having a bit of a whinge in my head about having to prepare food so. I think it’s definitely working. And I’ll definitely pop all of those links in our show notes but yeah, you can find Liv on Instagram. And yeah, definitely follow and subscribe to her YouTube channel because it’s really, it’s a refreshing thing to have someone happy in the kitchen, creating real food recipes, and just your whole approach. I think is infectious in a really good way because I think a lot of messages out there are quite like fear-provoking and anxiety-provoking, whereas I feel like there’s much more of a refreshing approach that you have in terms of yeah, just how you, how you relate to food, and even just the way that you let people know that hey, like, this is what works for me, but it’s okay if it doesn’t work for you. And you can do things differently. I think sometimes we get consumed by people who are like, this is the only way to do it. And if you don’t do it this way, like you will die. I’m like, oh my God. And then you go, like I can, even me like as someone who’s incredibly educated around it, even I if I let myself get on like an Instagram, scrolling Fiesta and like I’m on a keto page, I’m on a vegan page, I’m like, oh my God, what am I even doing with my life until I’m like, okay, like, what you need to practice what you preach tune back in what works for me and go back to that. So, yeah, that was a really long way of saying thanks, Liv. Good job.
Liv Kaplan 54:25
That means so much. That’s awesome. But thank you so much for having me on this show. It’s been some, had some great chat find that often you and I are like in the DMs having long discussions about wild salmon.
Natalie K. Douglas 54:38
Totally, totally. I still love that wild salmon. No, it’s a pleasure to actually get to have a proper chat to you and share you with our audience. And I’m sure you’ll have plenty of more stalkers soon. I’m like, I’m always looking at what you’re creating next. I’m like, oh, I’m going to make that on the weekend. So, thanks. So, we will yeah, will pop all of those links in, and thank you again for joining us.
Great. Thank you.
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com and Kate at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!
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Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer
Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.
Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.
Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.
Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist
Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.
She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.
She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.
Liv Kaplan | Nutritionist & Sugar-Free Recipe Creator
Liv Kaplan is a nutritionist and passionate foodie with a keen eye for all things health and wellness. Her recipes focus on mood-boosting and blood sugar balancing goodness and she believes eating well should be easy and effortless, not stressful! If she’s not getting creative in the kitchen, you can find her getting salty in the ocean, getting zen on the yoga mat or picking up fresh produce from the local farmer’s market.