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Food Combining 101 by Health Coach, Melissa Wood

Melissa Wood is a health coach, model and proud new mother living in New York City. While gracing the pages of such publications as Women’s Health, Self and Shape magazines through her work as a model, she has developed a passion for healthy living and fitness. Melissa completed her studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a certified Health and Wellness Coach in 2014. She hopes that by sharing her own experiences with food choices and body image, she will be able to help those struggling to find a healthy balance in their lives. For Melissa’s health and fitness tips, visit her website, f low her on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat @Mindfullyfit

Food Combining 101

People often tell me that they eat healthily but are frustrated with the lack of results in their bodies, and can’t understand why they’re still feeling bloated after eating. The first thing I always ask them is how they are combining their foods.

Proper food combining is a method of eating that allows you to digest your food in a way that is efficient, not wasteful of energy, and which allows you to absorb the most nutrients from your foods. Because all foods digest at different rates using different enzymes, it is important to understand which combinations are optimal for digestive health. Improper food combining leads to unpleasant side effects such as bloating, gas and yes- even weight gain.

One of the most common misconceptions is that eating fruit for dessert is a healthy alternative to sugary sweets. While fruit is very healthy and should be a big part of any diet, it’s not advisable to eat fruit after a meal, no matter how light or healthy. The reason for this is because fruit digests faster than any other food group.  If you’re still craving something sweet after a mean, try having a piece of dark, non-dairy chocolate instead. This will not interfere with the digestive process.

If, for example, you have a chicken salad for lunch, it’s important to know that chicken takes approximately 4-6 hours to digest, so it’s not advisable to follow it up with fruit because most fruit only takes 30-45 minutes to digest. The fruit will have nowhere to go and ends up sitting in your stomach, leading to a host of unpleasant side-effects such as bloating and gassiness.

This chart is a good guideline to use when in doubt about food combining

Chart via

Don’t take my word for it; give yourself 2-4 weeks to try it. Food combining is not an exact science; don’t beat yourself up if you can’t follow these guidelines 100% of the time. The results will speak for themselves, hopefully leading you to make food combining a part of your eating routine.

It is important to remember that this is NOT a diet. It’s a way of understanding how the digestive system works to optimize your health, while looking and feeling great in the process

Simple & Healthy Granola

This simple and healthy granola recipe has become a staple in the Landers home. It is perfect on yogurt, with fruit or in a acai bowl. This recipe rivals my favorite KIND Granola which is truly saying something. A major bonus is how sweet our house smells when it’s cooking, for a short ten minutes. I love how you can switch out different nuts and sweeteners, the possibilities with this granola are endless.

Recipe was first on my snapchat: @missemilywarren


Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
20 mins

Delicious healthy granola, featuring nuts, shredded coconut, and hearty oatmeal. Original recipe from Elizabeth Rider, modifications by Emily Landers.

2 cups (680 g) oats
1/2 cup (170 g) raw chopped nuts
1/4 cup (56 g) seeds (I used pumkpin)
1/2 cup (56 g) unsweetened dried fruit
2 to 3 Tbsp organic maple syrup or raw honey
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract & a pinch of salt
In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients
Whisk in the maple syrup or honey, coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
Flatten mixture onto silpat.
Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

*We added dark chocolate to our second batch once it cooled down and it was delicious!



Almond Meal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

Monday night we were craving something sweet and knew I had enough ingredients to whip up something delicious. These almond meal cookies with chocolate chips and coconut were the perfect treat. They have quickly become Luke’s favorite. They’re easy, delicious and a great motification to the classic chocolate chip cookie.

With only one egg and coconut acting as the perfect sweetener these cookies will leave you energized instead of weighed down!

Three things I loved about this recipe: It was simple, healthy and quick to prepare; not to mention it yielded some seriously amazing chocolate chip cookies that any eater – gluten free or not – would be pleased to pick up. *While the recipe below says it yields 20, we made larger cookies and ended up with about a dozen.


Prep time
45 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
55 mins

Gluten free cookies from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook, featuring bits of dark chocolate, shredded coconut, and hearty almond meal.
Author: Sprouted Kitchen, modified by Minimalist Baker

1 1/4 cups (137 g) almond meal
1/4 cup (30 g) chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup (40 g) shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (73 g) brown sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp (45 g) coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, dark chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, salt and sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat egg until uniform in color and doubled in volume.
Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit.
Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 20 cookies; per cookie: Calories: 78 Fat: 6.3 g Saturated fat: 2.9 g Carbohydrates: 5 g Sugar: 3.5 g Fiber: 1 g Protein: 1.7 g
8.7k 65 23k

imageSee more of my favorite recipes on Snapchat: MissEmilyWarren and let me know if you make these guys- you’ll thank me later! 🙂

A Stay at The Betsy Hotel

Last week, before heading to a conference in Orlando I stopped in Miami to check out the classically cool Betsy Hotel on Ocean Drive. IMG_8880

Not surprisingly I documented the whole trip on snapchat. 🙂  Username: MissEmilyWarren.

Upon arrival I found myself checking into a beautiful boutique hotel with exquisite Miami style. Think brown and white stripped couches, fuchsia orchids around every corner and a rotating wall of artwork for guests to enjoy.

My royal suite came complete with a T.V. room, king sized bed and a bright white bathroom. My entry way boasted a walk in closet and a full length mirror, perfect placement as you do a double take before leaving for a night out in South Beach!

The decor in my suite was lovely. Bright with light colors and soft touches of floral prints. My direct window views overlooked Ocean Drive and gave me a unparalleled view of the beach.

The recently redesigned LT Steak & Seafood was simply delicious, not to mention cozy with a chic decor!

The Spicy Tuna Rolls, Short Rib & Pickled Jalapeno Bao Bun, Ora King Salmon and Brussels Sprout, Cipollini Onion with Guanciale were a few of my favorite items off the menu. For more dinner inspiration head here.

For dessert I highly recommend the Ananas Gildas. A delicious mix of banana-passion fruit & pina colada sorbet, pomegranate caramel, meringue. For more dessert inspiration head here.IMG_8920

My favorite meal may have been breakfast which was the above Egg White Omelette with cherry tomato, avocado, kale, goat cheese, fresh herbs. My boss and dear friend, Tiffany out ordered me with a delicious plate of Avocado & Pea Toast with 7 grain bread, feta cheese, sprouts and lemon zest. We were also told the Lots Of Grains Bowl complete with flax seed, sunflower seed, kale, avocado, grapefruit, jicama, tamarind and guava vinaigrette was equally superb. For more breakfast inspiration head here.

IMG_8908 The Betsy Expansion is said to be completed in the fall and after touring the construction site it’s sure to bring many more stylish travelers to Miami.

Thank you Jorge and Tiffany for a lovely trip. Miami, you are something else!

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I am currently flying to Miami and thinking of you.

I think Father’s Day is an emotional day for me because I love you so very much. I can not express in words how much you mean to our family. Your unwavering faith has strengthened our family, your endless creativity has brought years of adventures and your kindness has lead our family to priceless moments with people who are marginalized in society. There are endless stories to prove your great love for God, your family and for people.

I am so thankful to have had a front row seat for the past 25 years. I love you so much Dad! Thank you for everything.


This year I gained another father figure in my wonderful father-in-law, John Landers. I am so thankful for the encouragement you have brought to Luke for so many years and how you have helped guide him and mold him into the man he is today. I am forever indebted to you and Nona for such a gift. I love you John and hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Much to be thankful for on this special day honoring our dads…including our 6 month anniversary. Happy Anniversary Luke! I love you TOO! 🙂 Xoxx


A Week in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Luke and I had the most amazing week with our family in Pagosa Springs, CO. My in-laws rented a beautiful mountain house for the week. Pagosa Springs is about an hour outside of Durango, CO. We flew LAX to Denver to Durango on Memorial Day and made it Pagosa Springs before sun down.

I knew it was going to be a great trip from the very beginning! On our United flight from LAX to DEN I looked up and recognized one of the flight attendants, a former favorite colleague of mine! Thank you for taking such great care of us Kat.

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The Denver to Durango flight is a short one in a very small plane. I always enjoy those, Luke not so much. 🙂

Our week began with a private fly fishing trip to a peaceful lake owned by a couple that have lived in Pagosa Springs for generations. We so enjoyed hanging out with our fly fishing guides, one was a Baylor grad! Of course my favorite was our furry friend Beartooth, an 8-month old husky.

After a full day of fishing we dined at a popular restaurant in town.


We went on multiple hikes through out the week. My favorite being one all the “kids” went on. Ending up at high point overlooking downtown Pagosa as storm clouds rolled in. It was awesome!

We enjoyed a family hike too! High above a river below.



On our last day in Pagosa, Jillian and I went on a hike that reminded us that “the hills are alive with the sound of music!”

I think we all agreed that our favorite excursion was white water rafting. It was a half a day trip with a little lunch break which was perfect. Luke’s three sisters took most of the freezing cold splashes but Luke and I had our fair share on the second row too. The rapids we went down were 1, 2 and a few 3’s. Just exciting enough without ever thinking we were going to have anyone fly out of the boat.

Once we defrosted our feet after the first hour or so we were back on the river. My father-in-law enjoys birdwatching and on the calmer waters we were able to see lots of wildlife.


The girls ready for the trip! Myself, Jana, Nona, Lindsey and Jillian.

Pagosa Springs is also popular for it’s hot springs so after a cold day on the water we went directly there.

“When the first white men came across the Great Pagosa Hot Spring over 150 years ago, they noticed the ground around the pool to be packed by human foot prints with paths radiating out from the 75 foot diameter bubbling pool like spokes from the hub of a wheel. Native Americans had been enjoying the waters of this natural hot mineral spring for generations before others found the special waters.”

I believe the hottest spring our group could handle was 107 degrees.


Checking out a double rainbow with my sister-in-law, Jana.
Luke and John enjoying their second fishing trip without the girls. 🙂

My mother-in-law setup a little photoshoot for us on our second to last night in Pagosa and I’m so thankful she thought to do so. Our first family trip with me being apart of it all. It will be so fun to look back on these photos as the years go by, especially as our family grows.


We love you John and Nona! Thank you for an amazing trip!

May Malibu Visits

We recently had my parents come and visit us in Malibu over Memorial Day Weekend. It’s always so fun to have them here and always a bit surreal. Being a newlywed and inviting your parents over to your fully stocked kitchen, home and new city has been one of the funnest parts about living in Calabasas. Everyone wants to visit!

I always enjoy showing guests around the hiking trails behind our house in the Santa Monica Mountains. Luckily, my parents are usually up for the challenge!


Good looking guys!

Restaurants we frequented this trip:

  • Tom’s Urban, L.A. Live
  • Mendocino Farms, Agoura Hills
  • Lemonade, Calabasas
  • Gladstone’s, Malibu

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Thank you for coming to see us mom and dad! We love you! Until next time!!

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