Swap This for That, Simple Ingredient Swaps to make your Kitchen Creations Healthier

It is hard to imagine a question that is harder to understand than what should I be eating now. We live in a world with a ton of options and a bunch of diet theories in fact there are over 200 different dietary theories and at the institute of integrative health and nutrition we were required to study them all. From Paleo to veganism, south beach to weight watchers the market has exploded by even having all these choices hasn’t made things easier.

The bottom line and the most radical thing you can do for health and your healthy bottom is to eat real food. It needs to be made with real ingredients and organic when possible.

Eat a good breakfast
Starting your morning off on the right food will jump start your metabolism, but beware what you choose to eat, you know you are breaking your Fast from the night so what you put in your body is very important. The proverbially Breakfast smoothies may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
Although the ingredients are healthy and delicious, two bananas, cold-pressed orange juice, strawberries, coconut water and bee pollen will add up to quite a high calorie content, although all are natural. Swap it for this 2 eggs with some sautéed veggies and either a piece of sprouted toast or a little sweet potato. You might find you will feel fuller longer and have more energy. eggs with herbs for breakfast

Knowing your Grains
Glycemic index and glycemic load offer information about how foods affect blood sugar and insulin. The lower a food’s glycemic index or glycemic load, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. Here is a chart to some common foods. Grains should be a part of your diet but you should learn which ones are the best for you or you may be unwittingly overloading your body with the wrong things
Swap it: If a recipe you are making calls for rice, try doing half quinoa and half rice I’ve done it with excellent results.
Quinoa is high in protein but low in carbohydrates, making it a great grain alternative. Basmati is the lowest GI of the white rice range. Brown is slightly higher in GI but much higher in nutrients. So if a recipe is best with white, go for basmati; otherwise stick to brown.
We always add vegetables and beans to our rice base try adding onion, garlic, dried beans to the water with your rice and then tossing in carrot, celery, and bell peppers in the last 5 minutes then cover and steep.Grains.

Fun Swaps to try:

  1. Mashed Avocado for butter or oil in baking: Not all fats are bad for you, like we have discussed in the past. Plant based oils like olive, nuts and avocados are rich is monounsaturated fats which are actually good for you. They may actually help to maintain healthy cholesterol level. When subbing avocado in baking it is best to use a pretty ripe avocado that will mash easily. We also put avocado in coconut milk for a rich and delicious snack.
  2. Greek Yogurt for mayo or sour cream, by making this trade you are adding and extra bit of protein you find only in Greek yogurt. Have a go at adding seasonings, like garlic, chipotle peppers or dill. Add chopped cucumbers and mint to make a a healthier
  3. Pureed White Bean, swap for cream to thicken soups Instead of thickening soups with cream or milk, use a can of organic white bean like great northern or cannellini beans and puree in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy add them in to your soup for a wonderful creamy texture. Way less fat this way and more potassium wonderful for your cardio vascular system.
  4. Nuts, use nuts in salads or on yogurt instead of higher calorie granola. Walnuts and Almonds are two of the heart healthiest types you can choose, make sure you are grabbing un salted variety. Try toasting them as well and sprinkling with cinnamon and or a bit of cayenne for a kicked up salad or yogurt.
  5. Applesauce for oil butter or sugar. Pop 3 small apples cored but not peeled in a pan with a little water, cover and steam on low until soft. Cool slightly and add to blender. Using this in place of butter in a recipe will cut your calories by more than 1/2 and you have the added benefit of fiber in your baking. This is delicious on it’s own sprinkled with a little Saigon cinnamon the added bonus this cinnamon is insulin enhancing and anti- inflammatory.
  6. Zoodles or spaghetti Squash instead of pasta. Zoodles aka Zucchini noodles are terrific baked, Sautéd or Eaten Raw, it only takes only a moment to spiral up and you have the added benefits of only good carbs.
  7. Soda Water instead of Tonic, next time your out with friends and sipping your favorite cocktail remember tonic is high in sugar while soda has none.

Additional Swaps to consider:
Instead of: Granola
Swap this: Oatmeal

Instead of: Egg sandwich
Swap this: Scrambled eggs with veggies

Instead of: Fruit at the bottom yogurt
Swap this: Greek yogurt with fresh fruit

Instead of: Cream based soups
Swap this: Broth-based minestrone

Instead of: Standard steak
Eat this: Grass-fed steak

Instead of: Mashed potatoes
Swap this: Mashed cauliflower or at least do 50/50

Instead of: Hummus and chips
Swap this: Hummus and red pepper, or any veggies you like

Instead of: Potato chips
Swap this: Kale chips, email us if you would like a recipe

Intelligent Pantry Items:

Yerba Mate : anti oxidant, metabolism boosting tea that is loaded with amino acid, and offers stimulation without the drop you get from other caffeinated beverages.
Liquid Amino: Bragg’s formulated soy protein is from non-GMO certified soybeans and purified water.
Nutritional Yeast : Makes a healthy delicious seasoning when sprinkled on most foods, especially salads, vegetables, potatoes, rice, pasta and even popcorn, use it as a cheese substitute in sauces and dressings.
Coconut Oil : Coconut oil can be taken as a dietary supplement, used for cooking or used for skin & hair care.
Organic GF Oats: For breading as a binder, in your breakfast, terrific source of fiber.
Chia Seeds: Sprinkle into smoothies, oatmeal, granola, cereal or yogurt or use as a thickener. Chia is a vegetarian source of omega fatty acids, protein, calcium, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and soluble fiber. We use it thicken over night oats as well.
Stevia Liquid: Finally a calorie, carb free sweetener without chemicals all plant based. Non-Bitter Certified Organic A Dietary Supplement Vegetarian Product Stevia rebaudiana is a natural herb that grows in Asia and South America
Plant Based Protein: 22 grams of protein in each scoop, easy-to-digest, energy-boosting protein. Rich in omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A balanced, complete source of vegan protein that does not contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Start Your Engine Green Smoothie can Change your Day

Fresh organic green smoothie with salad, apple, cucumber, pineap

How you start your day makes a huge difference in your life and your day.

I believe that sometimes, heavy breakfasts can start you off sluggishly. It makes me feel weighed down physically and mentally all day long. Thought we absolutely don’t think you should skip breakfast. For a change try our Start Your Engine Green Smoothie.

Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
• 1½-2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon of Maca root powder
• ¾ pound organic romaine lettuce, rough chopped, about 1 head
• ½ head large bunch or ¾ small bunch organic spinach
• 3-4 organic celery stalks, halved
• 1 organic apple, cored, seeded, quartered
• 1 organic pear, cored, seeded, quartered
• 1 organic banana, peeled
• ½ fresh organic lemon juice
• bunch organic parsley with stems

Place water, romaine, spinach, celery, and optional ingredients, if using, into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.

Intelligent + Organic Food Detox

People everywhere have realized that sometimes, you can have your juice and eat things too. But not eat just anything, mind you—healthy, carefully-curated and nutritionally rich food, selected and created by our healthy eating experts. At IG our focus is on eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lean protein. by taking a 3 – 5 -7-10 day break from bad dietary habits. You will eliminate caffeine and alcohol refined sugar, flour, gluten, dairy and processed foods, which will help you establish healthier patterns and you’ll multiply your energy as your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol tick down.

Focus on Antioxidants

Antioxidants activate liver enzymes that “knock out” harmful substances and make them water soluble, so your body can get rid of them more eas- ily. Spinach, kale, cranberries, green juice, and yerba mate are super-antioxidant-rich.

Organic Products

Pesticides are toxins, “and I think there’s good cause for worry about them,” A new study in Food and Chemical Toxicology links pesticide-laced feed to cause tumors and early death in rats. Organic is ideal, but if that’s not possible, pick produce with thick skins that peel off, because they’re less likely to be contaminated.

Drink Water, Yerba Mate, Green Tea

Part of the goal is to pee, poop, and sweat toxins out of your system, you should be drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of liquid each day.

Detox Bath

Add 2 cups Epsom Salt to a very hot bath (as hot as you can stand it). Add 1 cup Baking Soda to unfiltered bathwater. Soak for 20 min. And shower in cool water. No perfumed lotions or soap after detoxing. No eating before or after detox bath….just drink lots of water before and after. –I have done this & it works! Years of toxins are released through hands & feet!

Don’t Skimping on Sleep

A good nights sleep is as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet, but it often gets shorted in our busy society. Poor sleep is a big cause of ill health “Consider a sleep reboot where while cleansing and schedule a regular bedtime, avoid late TV, computer, and smartphone activities for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime.” Eating Smart Just Got Easier

Starting @ $175.00

Included Daily:

A Superfood protein rich nut milk for breakfast

2 – Fresh organic juices

1 Vegan or  lean protein salads or meal

2 Curated snacks

1 Fiber rich soup

Evening tea

Detox Diet

Intelligent Partners

The purpose of a partnership is to create something greater than we can create on our own. Not because of deficiencies or incompleteness we might have, but because we are each unique and bring with us different skill sets and knowledge. Through partners our efforts are increased and a complete resource is created for reaching your wellness goals.  Linda Baldwin, CHHC, AADP, Chef, Plant Based Chef, AANC + Creator IG,  2015

" Living and working in partnership means loving and serving ourselves and others, and that is key not only to a life well lived but also to global peace and prosperity as well."

” Living and working in partnership means loving and serving ourselves and others, and that is key not only to a life well lived but also to global peace and prosperity as well.”

Barre Central St. 6641 Central Ave. Petersburg FL. 727. 344.6641

Designed to be the go to spot for your mind body and soul connection. They offer to only Barre but also pilates mat, and yoga. We also have kids and family yoga classes. They offer many workshops including meditation, self defense, and aromatherapy. All ages are welcome.

Barre Fitness 3423 S. Manhattan Ave, Tampa FL. 33629 813.334.4165

Barre Fitness is a boutique fitness studio focusing on barre workouts. Our classes blend strength training and stretching in a fun, friendly, high energy class that will tighten, sculpt and lengthen your muscles. Our Barre classes are one hour classes and are an all encompassing full body workout .

Mantra Fitness 1710 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL. 33629 1.941.201.1087

Expect 50-minutes of calorie-burning muscle-quivering, shirt-drenching, total -body conditioning. Start with the lowi-impact, muscle-toning principles of Pilates, add elements of cardio, crank up the intensity to full blast, add some great music and you have the Lagree Fitness Method.

Move Inspired Health & Fitness 3308 W. Knights Ave.Tampa, FL. 33611 813.690.1335

MOVE IS A LIFESTYLE: a full body workout that incorporates the most effective moves from all types of workouts- so you don’t have to spend your week driving around to different studios, trying to work different aspects of your body – MOVE is all encompassing! MOVE not only builds and maintains your muscles, but, at the same time, it fine-tunes the smaller muscles, which creates sexier definition for women, while maintaining strength.

Pure Barre 3830 W. Neptune Ave. Tampa, FL. 33629 813.254.8663

Pure Barre offers clients an effective, results-oriented workout that allows them to take control of their bodies and lifestyles

Shaker Spine & Sport Institute 3314 Henderson Blvd. Suite 203 Tampa, FL. 33609 813.876.9552
TRIGENICS®* is a Revolutionary new neurological treatment system – which can rapidly relieve pain, accelerate healing, and improve muscle strength and performance. With Trigenics* your nervous system is treated to reset the way your brain communicates with your body.

Spectra Wellness Solutions 509 S. Armenia Ave Suite 302 Tampa, FL 33609 813.319.0911

Led by Lisa Saff Koche M.D., Spectra Wellness is a cutting edge practice dedicated to utilizing the best of both traditional and integrative medicine to allow patients to achieve optimal health and well being. A team of providers utilize different modalities to ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Patients are treated as individuals and have unique and personal programs. Our holistic/integrative therapies include testing and treatments such as saliva testing, nutritional analysis and replacement, detoxification, energy medicine, acupuncture, zyto testing and more!

The Soulful Seed: 5700 Lee St. NE. St. Petersburg FL. 727.902.0453

For thirty years, Susan has created thriving community, school, and home gardens from scratch, and has brought delicious, nutrition-dense, whole-food meals to the Tampa Bay community. She also created three cafes, including the first organic eatery in St. Petersburg – Integrity Organics.

Wholistic Tampa, FL. 1800.733.3333

Elena Bensonoff is a world renowned public speaker, pharmacist, clinical health practitioner and a fellow in Anti-Aging Functional Medicine. She offers instruction in chakra & aura balancing is a salt healer and has created a line of organic hand-crafted products that are formulated using only natural and organic ingredients according to the ancient system of holistic medicine

Store-Bought Juice Labels Busted!

Fresh real juice in Tampa, Florida

Juicing at home may be fast and easy, but it does require cleanup, leading many to cut out the work by purchasing juice from the store. One of my clients found me because she had made exactly this mistake: She bought a bottle of juice, drank it happily, and then looked at the label. That bottle of green juice contained more sugar than two regular sodas! To add insult to injury, that juice was part of a line of prepackaged cleanses. Don’t make the same mistake.

Here’s what you should know about less-than-fresh juice.

  • 100% Juice doesn’t mean much. Food companies can legally print “100% Juice” on their labels while still including additives, flavorings and preservatives (not to mention a lot of added sugar and salt).
  • Key minerals, vitamins and live enzymes are destroyed by the pasteurization process most juices go through – and if that doesn’t do it, keeping juice on the shelf for days will!
  • “Not from Concentrate” juice often still uses “flavor packs” to add flavor back in after a lengthy storage process.
  • Even in juices labeled “All Natural,” synthetic ingredients may be hidden, like Fibersol-2, Fructooligosaccharides, or Inulin. Naked Juice was sued for using “All Natural” in their label while containing all of these ingredients.

It’s okay, you don’t have to clean your juicer to reap the benefits of fresh juice (even if it does just take a few seconds to rinse after use!). We have all the fresh, low-sugar, super-food-power-packed, straight-from-the-organic-farm juice you want. We carefully compose each juice recipe to maximize health benefits and flavor – and, you’re invited to check out our labels any time. We know you’ll like what you see and love what you taste!

Need an Energy Boost? Try this Chia Juice!

Chia Juice Health Benefits

Did you know that “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”? If that doesn’t deserve its own workout drink, I don’t know what does. But don’t buy one from the store – they’re loaded with sugar! Here’s what you need to know about chia seeds, including a delicious healthy recipe for a refreshing juice!

5 Fun Facts About Chia Seeds

  1. Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.
  2. High fiber and protein content makes you feel full longer and slows the metabolism of sugars.
  3. Nicely balanced amino acids make the protein easy for our bodies to use.
  4. Contain 4 nutrients that work together to maintain good bone health: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein.
  5. Lowers blood pressure and inflammation.

Chia seed drinks are quickly trending in high-end health food stores, but like most mass-produced bottled beverages, they’re high in sugar. I love adding chia seeds to my juices and smoothies for their healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium since the combination keeps your blood-sugar even for hours. Hello steady energy! While you can add chia seeds to anything, I love this refreshing, ultra-hydrating recipe.

Minty-Fresh Energy Boost Juice

  • ½ lemon
  • 1 cucumber
  • Handful of romaine, arugula, or watercress
  • Handful of mint
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ green apple

4 Juices to Help You Touch Your Toes Without Pain

juice for flexibility and inflammation reduction

I once heard a yoga instructor say “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” Well, that woman was a grandmother and didn’t look a day past 40! I’d say she’s onto something. While yoga and exercise, or even chasing after grandchildren, can help your muscles stay in shape, flexibility needs more than exercise: Flexibility also relies on reducing inflammation. These four juices do just that, making your daily exercise routine feel easier, and helping you to touch your toes without pain.

Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which our bodies convert to nitrites, which dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. The result: More stamina! Your muscles need less oxygen to do the same amount of work, making exercise feel less difficult. This is definitely the juice to drink before CrossFit!

Can’t Beet the Staying Power Recipe

  • 1 beet
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2′ ginger
  • 1 stalk kale
  • 1 green apple

Green juice, using kale, spinach, chard, broccoli and celery, improves flexibility through its high water content and ability to cleanse acids from the body. It’s the perfect breakfast for that early morning pilates class.

Hydrating Green Juice

  • 2 red chard leaves
  • 3 kale stalks
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 apple or pear

Barley grass juice or powder contains the stretchy trifecta of beta carotene, iron and calcium which work together to improve flexibility and total body health. It’s a wonderful addition to your favorite juice, but on its own, it tastes a lot like…well, grass.

Turmeric juice, or powder, as an additive to any of your favorite juices, is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories out there. Inflammation not only reduces flexibility, but has also been linked to a wide range of health problems, from arthritis to obesity. Bonus: Turmeric also acts as an anti-depressant, giving a mood boost to your day! I like to drink this for dessert to ensure sweet dreams and a good night’s rest.

Turmeric Milk Recipe

  • 2 cups almond/hemp milk
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

And yes, you can combine these four ingredients together for one incredible pre-workout drink!

How to Use Food to Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions

Broccoli,radish and feta salad with quinoa

This post is NOT about losing weight. In fact, that resolution isn’t even going to be mentioned, because you know why? I’m SICK OF IT! Aren’t you? Of course you can use food to lose weight (studies show it’s more effective to control your diet than increase exercise, if you have to choose), but let’s dig a little deeper this year and go after what we really want.

1. Resolution: Be Happier

It’s a simple one, but it’s what we’re really after with all the other resolutions isn’t it? Even when you have a great family, work you love, and live in a beautiful part of the country that hovers between 60 and 80 degrees in the dead of winter – you can still feel down more often than you’d like. Stop punishing yourself for being ungrateful – that’s not it. Unless you need to make real changes in your life (maybe you do!), these down times are chemical. And that means you can lift yourself back up with food.

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. Which means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Two especially powerful anti-inflammatory foods (or supplements) you can try are:

  1. Turmeric (curcumin)
  2. Omega-3 (fish, or fish oil)

2. Resolution: Be Healthier

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, daily.

  • Lemons – Anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, vitamin C.
  • Broccoli – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting rock-star, vitamin K & vitamin C combo builds healthy bones.
  • Dark Chocolate – 1/4th oz daily reduces blood pressure & bad cholesterol, and improves your mood!
  • Salmon/Fish/Flax Seeds/Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce risk for heart disease.
  • Spinach – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, and eye-health-improving. Toss a handful in with your eggs every morning!

3. Resolution: Spend More Time With Loved Ones

Invite some friends over to cook a healthy meal together – and schedule these dinners as often as you’d like. We’re all so busy that if we don’t schedule in time with friends and loved ones, it never happens. So put a few dinner dates on your calendar. Here’s an idea: Make a game of it by inviting a friend to walk through your local farmer’s market with you, choose some “mystery” ingredients, and see what you can do with them when you get back!

Don’t like to cook, but still want the healthy dinner? We’ve got you covered. Just serve everyone Intelligent Gourmet!

3 Simple Creamy Vegan Winter Soups

Broccoli Soup With Cream

It’s officially the Winter Holidays! And while Tampa remains a stubborn balmy 70 degrees, we’re almost dipping into the 60s this week. If you’ve lived around here long enough, I’m sure you’ll agree: It’s hat and coat time! But not only do we crave our winter wardrobes when the weather turns chilly (read: Less than 75), we crave soothing hot comfort foods. Here are three of my favorite hot soup recipes made vegan, low-calorie, and extra delicious. Oh, and the best part: They’re all major cancer-fighters!

You’ll definitely need an immersion blender…

All recipes serve 3-4 (or 2 if they want seconds!)

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 1 head of cauliflower and 1 head of broccoli, steamed
  • 1 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • Add 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4th tsp grated nutmeg
  • Vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Non-Vegan options: Garnish with plain Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of extra sharp cheddar cheese.


In a pot, saute 1 chopped onion until well browned in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Using an immersion blender, blend cauliflower, broccoli, and onion mixture together, adding vegetable broth until desired soup consistency is reached. Garnish with fresh parsley, or non-vegan alternatives.

Vegan Mushroom Soup

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Tb EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs mushrooms
  • 1 Tb dry sherry (or white wine)
  • 1 russet potato or 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • To add depth of flavor, try adding a dash of balsamic vinegar!


Saute onion with olive oil in a pot until caramelized, add garlic. Deglaze with dry sherry and add mushrooms and potatoes. Add herbs and spices. Cook down until mushrooms are deeply browned (not burnt!) and potato pieces are soft. Immersion blend until soup has reached a desirable consistency. Since mushrooms produce a lot of moisture while cooking down, you may not need any additional vegetable stock, which is why it’s omitted. If extra moisture is required, use vegetable stock or white wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme (yep, just like the song says!).

vegan creamy tomato soup

Vegan Tomato Soup

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours beforehand
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 14.4 oz cans stewed tomatoes (or 4.5 cups)
  • 1/4 c coconut milk
  • Fresh basil, chopped with some more for garnish
  • Sugar, salt and pepper to taste (yes, sugar!)
  • Pepitas (optional garnish)


In a pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until they are soft. In a 2-cup measure (or deep pot – whatever you have handy), use your immersion blender to blend the cashews with 1/2 cup water until it’s creamy. Add into the onion/garlic pot with stewed tomatoes, basil, and coconut milk, and blend until creamy. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread, or garnish with pepitas.