Friday Feature | The Real Life RD

The winner of the Forte Gelato GIVEAWAY has been announced – check the original post to see if it’s you!

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Ahhh, yes – happy Friday y’all! This week crept by for me, so I am giddy the weekend is hours away. Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day and I get to spend the weekend with my valentine. Enough about me.

Today we are bringing back Friday Features! In today’s spotlight, we have the ever adorable Robyn of The Real Life RD. I have been following Robyn’s blog and mouth-watering Instagram account for quite some time. Her blog name fits her perfectly, as she is 100 percent real and down to earth. On her blog, Robyn shares her “joy for food and this messy, imperfect life.” Amen sista.

At 24 years young, Robyn has already taken her title as a registered dietitian by the horns, running her own business Nutshell Nutrition. But that’s not all — she was recently accepted into Columbia University’s School of Nursing (congrats!), and she ran her fourth full marathon this past fall… I could go on.

Robyn, as one of my peers, is pure inspiration. If we didn’t live across the U.S. from each other, I’m sure we would be foodie friends. Our philosophies about food and eating align harmoniously: supporting a non-diet approach, eating ALL the plants, instilling intuitive eating, ignoring numbers, enjoying healthy fats, and eating A LOT to name a few. Robyn’s expertise plays a significant role in how I changed my metabolism.

Whether you are looking for professional nutrition advice, or for another real example of a positive, passionate plant-based foodie living life to the fullest, check out Robyn’s blog (we did a post swap today, FYI).

Happy Heart Day!




Q & A with Robyn Coale | The Real Life RD

1. What is your food philosophy? How does that differ from your education to be a registered dietitian?

My food philosophy is real, simple food comprised of mostly plants. When I’m in clinic working with patients with severe chronic disease or illness such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, I recommend a 100% plant based diet. There is 40+ years of sound science to support the reversal of disease following a plant based diet. It’s crazy, awesome, and so inspiring to see very sick patients heal themselves through food alone.

But overall, for anyone, I think we should be eating as close to the earth as possible, picking the stuff that doesn’t have a nutrition label or packaging and ENJOYING that food. The more plants we eat, the less room there is for animal stuff; so, although I certainly enjoy eggs or some local, organic meat here and there, I focus on filling up my day with plants. When you focus on adding in all kinds of nutritious foods to your day, you see food in a positive light instead of all kinds of foods you’re going to restrict or take away…it’s not about that.

It’s about eating what feels good and makes you feel good and that’s usually lots of plant based, nutrient-rich foods that are going to nourish your body at the cellular level.

I was taught a lot throughout my education to become an RD, but my food philosophy wasn’t really one of them. I don’t think we need dairy to thrive, and I think the more plant based the better. I’m not concerned with a nutrition label because it doesn’t tell you much. So, that food has 9 grams of fiber, cool…but where is that fiber coming from? Or that food has 24 grams of protein, ok…but what kind of protein is it? I think we need to get away from focusing on numbers and protein protein protein and focus on nutrients and plants and colors. When we focus on numbers and nutrition labels, we lose the enjoyment of food and start seeing it as a numbers game instead of a tool to live well.


2. Where did you gain your inspiration to eat intuitively and believe in a non-diet approach?

I am extremely passionate about teaching others to nourish their body well, stop seeing food as the enemy, and embrace food as a gift from God to thrive and be well. That passion came out of years of seeing (mainly) women shame food and police food and hate food and manipulate food to the point where it was controlling them and exhausting them and sucking the joy out of their lives.

The second we start restricting something, we are going to want it that much more. If you told me I couldn’t eat carrots, I’d be craving a carrot… hard. At the same time, if we aren’t eating enough, our bodies are going to crave sugar and carbs for quick energy, and that can lead to binges no matter how hard we try to resist. This is why I encourage people to focus on not restricting anything, but adding in and focusing on nutrient-rich, plant-based foods. There is so much freedom and happiness in giving your body what it wants.

3. As a RD, what are three concepts that you work on most with your clients at Nutshell Nutrition

The three main things I work on with Nutshell clients are: 1) regaining their menstrual cycle, 2) restoring a slow metabolism, and 3) finding food freedom. Specifically, eating more (usually a lot more) gets the body out of metabolic hibernation (which is fat storing mode) and instead revs metabolism and allows the body to burn everything you eat as fuel instead of storing it as fat.

When we continue to restrict our food intake to 1,200 or 1,600, or even 1,800 calories, and exercise constantly, our bodies adapt and metabolism slows; that’s why no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, you can’t lose a pound. Or you’re watching everything you put into your mouth and exercising religiously to simply maintain your weight. It doesn’t have to be that way. Weight maintenance should be effortless and weight loss is pretty dang easy when you’re nourishing your body well. And when you’re eating enough, you can regain your menstrual cycle; and since you’re no longer restricting and food policing, there is so much food freedom. You don’t stress when you go out to eat, somebody bringing you food doesn’t cause a panic attack, and you learn to let go. It’s life changing and so liberating.


4. What are you top five favorite foods? What recipes do you make over and over again? 

Oh gosh, I like food a lot. But if I had to choose five, I’d say nut butter in any form, hands down, is my favorite food. Then eggs, hummus, dark chocolate and strong coffee. Is coffee a food? Either way, I can’t live without it. I tried, it didn’t work.

I don’t make a lot of recipes; it’s more assembly of food. Making really simple stuff that just tastes good, ya know? I eat over easy eggs fried in coconut oil with kale and mushrooms every week. I also make veggie curry almost every week. It’s so easy and satisfying. And my other favorite go-to is a really great veggie burger with a sweet potato and roasted veggies. I love to make any veggie burger from Oh She Glows; that woman has a gift for turning oats and beans and spices into fabulous protein packed patties.


homemade drippy peanut buttah!

5. What inspired you to run your first marathon? What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from training/running (four?) marathons? 

I ran cross country throughout high school and then took up longer distances in college and fell in love with endurance running. My senior year of college, one of my best friends and I decided to run the Chicago Marathon for Susan G. Komen. Our sorority was extremely passionate about raising money and awareness for breast cancer and we both wanted to run a marathon eventually, so we figured why not now? A marathon was always on my bucket list since running my first half.

You learn a lot about yourself over 26.2 miles. You question every ounce of your body’s ability. You question your sanity. And you wonder if there really is a finish line. My most grueling and challenging marathon was the Richmond Marathon this past fall. It was my slowest marathon, but the hardest I’ve ever run. I ran with a strained hip and at mile 14, my legs completely cramped and I ran with what felt like metal poles for the next 12.2 miles. But what I learned is to be completely present in the moment, and I think that applies to every aspect of life. The second we stop being present, we start to think to the future and the what ifs, and that is when worry and doubt seeps in. If we simply stay in the present and take everything as it comes, absolutely anything is possible.


And she is a Girls on the Run coach, like I was!

Connect with Robyn >> Bloglovin’ | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter


Previously on Friday Feature >>

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What is your experience with intuitive eating?

What are your top five favorite foods?


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