Sassy Spoon Restaurant

I came across a restaurant that serves naturally raised, local meat, whole fats AND everything they offer is gluten-free, so I had to share!

Sassy Spoon, located in the Nokomis neighborhood of Minneapolis, is a gem! My husband and I ate there yesterday and ordered the turkey meatballs and yucca patties….absolutely mouthwatering and delicious!! I believe real food comes from farms and gardens and this is exactly what the owner Tamara  is offering. And there is gluten free beer and wine to enjoy too.

And to take it a step further, this restaurant serves bone broth! It doesn’t get any healthier than that. I hope they get so busy they need to open additional locations. Healthy food can taste amazing and she’s making that happen!

Tell your friends and make time to visit this establishment. Show your support for healthy, local, real food!


WAP - farm image for blog

Proud Member of the Weston A. Price Foundation

I am a member of the Weston A. Price organization. I believe in their mission and value the scientific knowledge they offer on whole foods. I also appreciate that they aren’t funded by the government or any other private interest group.  I highly recommend subscribing to their quarterly journal that is packed with valuable information on health. And it’s available for just $40.00 a year. The one comment I would make on their mission is about dairy products. It’s been my experience that not everyone can digest dairy. I believe in the benefits of raw dairy, but it’s not for everyone. Below is an excerpt from their website to learn more about their mission.

“The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. Specific goals include establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants.

The Foundation seeks to establish a laboratory to test nutrient content of foods, particularly butter produced under various conditions; to conduct research into the “X Factor,” discovered by Dr. Price; and to determine the effects of traditional preparation methods on nutrient content and availability in whole foods.

The board and membership of the Weston A. Price Foundation stand united in the belief that modern technology should be harnessed as a servant to the wise and nurturing traditions of our ancestors rather than used as a force destructive to the environment and human health; and that science and knowledge can validate those traditions.

The Foundation’s quarterly journal, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, is dedicated to exploring the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural and medical traditions throughout the world. It features illuminating and thought-provoking articles on current scientific research; human diets; non-toxic agriculture; and holistic therapies. The journal also serves as a reference for sources of foods that have been conscientiously grown and processed.”

Young girl walking on grass field

It’s a Journey, not an Event

Within the “diet industry”, there are an abundance of promises for quick fixes and FAST results. However, these short periods of dietary changes seldom create long-term outcomes. After years in my practice, I recognize that releasing weight and becoming emotionally healthy go hand in hand.

When losing weight too quickly, you may find it difficult to keep up with the changes emotionally. Let me explain. Most people do not realize that processed food is usually their way to cope with uncomfortable emotions. For example, how often have you gone through a pint of ice cream or a favorite dessert when you were anxious or lonely? How often have you overeaten and then promised yourself that the next time, and the time after that, will be different?

Although these habits can be changed, they require a longer-term approach that involves layering changes over time at a pace that works for you AND addressing the emotional root causes of your relationship with food. For example, if you are bored with your career and desperately want to be in a relationship, it will be more challenging for you to sustainably change your relationship with food until your life becomes more satisfying. Processed food and sugar is readily available and one of the main reasons for consumption is to give you a momentary high and block uncomfortable feelings. When you are carrying an underlying, unpleasant emotion throughout the day, due to boredom or lack of a meaningful relationship, you will often turn to food to get you through these emotions. How often do you need processed food to help you cope?

What I’m suggesting is that you become aware of the emotions that are blocking you from nourishing yourself with whole foods and also realize that the process of health is a journey, not an event. Listening to your emotional needs and learning how they can sabotage even the most dedicated dieter requires bringing to your awareness why you do what you do. And often, when you create positive changes in your emotional wellbeing, it affects not only your weight, but your life. Keep in mind that sustainable change is not a one-time event, but a continual refining of the journey.

Everyone’s journey to wellness is unique. Depending on how you’ve cared for yourself over the years will determine how long your journey to wellness will take. Here are some significant reasons that cause your recovery to take longer:

• Trauma and/or a difficult childhood
• Long term pharmaceutical drug or alcohol use
• Heavy sugar consumption
• In some cases, a long-term vegetarian or vegan diet
• Ignoring your health for a long period of time
• Ignoring chronic food sensitivities
• Toxic relationships

You may wonder why negative emotions are so important to bring to your awareness and resolve for a weight loss program to be successful. Most people do not realize that emotions are stored in the body and need to be addressed for good overall health and wellbeing. For example, the ‘heavy emotions’ of deep-rooted shame, unworthiness and guilt, are stored in the body and can often perpetuate weight gain. It is imperative to look at the whole person when creating health, especially the emotional side.

Creating health takes time, but a commitment to growth brings with it some amazing results. For example, some of the people that I’ve counseled have discovered their artistic side, started new hobbies, developed new friendships, started new romantic relationships, changed jobs, grown closer to their partner and have grown and evolved in many ways.

Quick fixes do lull us all into a feeling of “this time will be different”, but when we look back at all of the ‘promises’ it just might be more satisfying to make a commitment to confront what is not working and try a sustainable approach. People often think that getting away from their beloved sugar or processed food is going to be miserable, but eating satisfying, delicious whole foods leads to having more energy, feeling comfortable in your body, freedom to move as you’d like, positive moods, better confidence and so much more. When will you start your journey?

addicted to food

Are You Addicted to Food?

If you’ve worked with me, you know that I have shared that some people cannot be ‘casual’ with sugar or other triggering foods.

In my practice I believe in transitioning into whole foods at a pace that works for the individual, while paying close attention to the emotions that surface as they upgrade their way of eating. That being said, some people find food as addictive as drugs and alcohol and they often need a different approach to heal.

Here’s a valuable article that shares 8 Common Symptoms that are typical of food addicts as well as the science behind the addiction.


Maple Sausage with Cinnamon Apples

This breakfast combination is the perfect marriage of savory and sweet and provides a tasty alternative for those with egg allergies. I enjoy these with Swiss chard sautéed in butter, a piece of buttered teff Thurobread brand bread, and fermented vegetables. I make seven patties (scant 1/3 cup each) and freeze half of the uncooked meat to bring out later in the week. I make the apples all at once and just store in the refrigerator for the week.

Approximately 7 servings


1 lb. ground pastured pork
2 tsps. chopped sage
2 tsps. maple syrup
¾ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp. marjoram
3 apples, sliced thinly
2 TBS butter
½ tsp. cinnamon


1. Sauté the apples, cinnamon and butter in a skillet on low heat. You can add a little water to help them cook more quickly. Put a lid on the skillet to keep moist.

2. Place the pork, sage, maple syrup, salt, pepper, nutmeg, red pepper, and marjoram in a bowl and combine well. Form the mixture into patties 2-inches wide and ½- inch thick.

3. While the apples are cooking, heat another skillet over medium-high heat.

4. Fry the sausage patties in the skillet until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Recipe compliments of Danielle Walker.


Braised Beef Short Ribs

I have a theme to my cooking lately . . . delicious, satisfying and QUICK to prepare! Here is my latest which is Braised Beef Short Ribs. It makes a large portion and contains plenty of marrow from the bones which is healing on so many levels.

Braised Beef Short Ribs (serves 8-10)

Ribs are a flavorful cut of meat with plenty of healthy, satisfying fat. Although you can bake them, I find the slow cooker to be more convenient. Ribs are not inexpensive, but when you figure you can get up to 10 servings from this delicious recipe, the cost per meal is very reasonable.


6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. sea salt

12 grass-fed beef short ribs

2 TBS coconut oil

6 carrots, chopped

6 celery ribs, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 turnips, peeled and chopped

2 bay leaves

2 cups red wine

2 cups beef stock


  1. Turn the slow cooker on high.
  2. Stir minced garlic, ground pepper and sea salt together. Then season the beef short ribs with the garlic, salt and pepper mixture.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Sear seasoned ribs approximately one or two minutes on each side.
  4. Transfer the seared ribs to the slow cooker and add carrots, celery, onion, turnips, bay leaves, red wine and beef stock.
  5. Cook the ribs and vegetables on high for approximately 5 hours, or low for approximately 8 hours. The ribs are done when they fall off the bone and are very tender.


Recipe compliments of Jenny McGruther.

Healing Intense Digestive Symptoms

Healing Intense Digestive Symptoms

I would like to share a little about the GAPS Diet because of its amazing healing properties. I am not suggesting that people who work with me need to eat this way. However, I thought someone might benefit from my personal experience.

First, I do not care for the word ‘diet’. It often brings to mind a ‘plan’ that someone blindly follows for a period of time without truly connecting to themselves and their body and then resumes their former eating habits. If I could rename this book by Natasha McBride, I would call it the GAPS Nutritional Protocol, but she did not ask me.

I have witnessed the amazing healing benefits of this nutritional program firsthand. My husband and I have been married for 5 years. Prior to meeting me, he ate corn flakes, hot dogs and cheap Chinese food. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. After our marriage, he began eating the foods that I prepared and noticed improved energy, reduced cravings and he eliminated some health symptoms. However, he still consumed foods he was sensitive to. Even though, he experienced bloating, gas and diarrhea, he was not emotionally ready to remove them from his diet. However, in the fall of 2012, he experienced some severe health symptoms and was diagnosed with Hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder. Reluctantly, he began thyroid medication to stabilize his intense symptoms. His goal was to eliminate this pharmaceutical drug as soon as possible. After some research, I realized that the root cause of his illness was a leaky gut.

This brought me to the GAPS Diet and I realized it was imperative for him to begin this diet to heal the root cause of his thyroid disease. And since I struggled for years with a gluten and dairy allergy, I decided to try the GAPS diet and see if it would heal my gut, too. If you are not familiar with the GAPS Diet, it is a soup made from bone broth and non-starchy vegetables with plenty of high-quality animal fat. This combination heals and seals the gut lining. It takes a significant commitment to have this bone broth soup prepared and ready at all times since it is all you eat until you are symptom free. We made 3 large crockpots a week.

Eliminating symptoms takes different lengths of time for different people. We started the GAPS diet in January 2014 and in less than a month, my husband had well-formed bowel movements day-after-day with no bloating, gas or urgency. His energy improved and he began to absorb more nutrients. However, he was by no means ‘healed’. He still has this soup once or twice a day because he craves it and his body does very well with it. He is not ready to eat much else other than naturally raised animal protein, healthy fats and cooked vegetables. Recently, he has added small amounts of 100% grass-fed, raw dairy with no symptoms. It is important to note that he also does weekly acupuncture, tai chi or chi gong, standard process whole food supplements and a homeopathic remedy. This combination has allowed him to discontinue his thyroid medication and be 100% symptom free for many months.

I also experienced great results on the GAPS Diet .I had been unable to eat gluten and dairy since 2006 because I had severe symptoms. Now I enjoy 100% grass-fed, raw dairy and gluten. I choose not to eat much gluten because my body just feels better with animal protein, healthy fat and vegetables, but it is a delight to have the freedom to eat it occasionally. I choose to still eat the soup about once a day because I really like it and I continue to experience healing from this way of eating.

The GAPS Diet is like a spiritual experience, meaning it’s HARD. You must give up your attachment to food and simply eat soup. You can consume as much soup as you want (which by the way gives an intense feeling of nourishment). And remember over time you can add other nourishing foods one at a time as long as there are no signs of sensitivity. My husband and my #1 priority in life is spiritual growth so we were up for the challenge. Also, you need to be ready for the GAPS diet because it affects your whole life. We did not eat out, we could not eat at other people’s homes and we packed all of our own food when we traveled. It was a serious commitment and one that many people aren’t ready for yet. And that’s ok. Timing is everything. Also, it’s important to understand that the GAPS Diet is very detailed and specific. There are many things that Natasha McBride recommends beyond just the bone broth soup so I encourage anyone wanting to apply this way of eating to read her book in detail before beginning.

So even if you do not need the GAPS Diet, I highly recommend making bone broth regularly. I explain it in detail to my clients since it has incredible healing properties. And it is a delicious base for your favorite soups and sauces.

The Present Moment & Weight Loss

If you think about it, life only happens in the present moment. Deciding to try something new or making a different choice can only happen in the ‘now’ moment. I share this topic because something that derails many people when they want to change their food choices is, “I’ll start tomorrow.”

If the changes you’re going to make are always in the future, you never actually make any changes. However, a question that you can ask in the moment is, “What can I do differently now to improve my health?” Sometimes, it is as simple as noticing that you’re comfortably satisfied so you choose to not eat more food than you need. Or, when you plate your food, you may choose a smaller portion. Notice that these actions only happen in the ‘now’ moment.

So why do so many people avoid the present moment? Often, it is their fear of being intimately aware of the choices they have made in their life. They may be so angry at themselves for gaining weight that they cannot tolerate their feelings in the ‘now’ moment. Something to consider is that it’s exhausting to constantly distract yourself from the present moment and it often leads to weight gain and poor health. In time, there can be peacefulness in allowing yourself to be fully in this moment. It can be freeing. However, it takes in-the-moment courage to allow yourself to experience your current state of being.

It’s been my experience that creating sustainable changes to the way you nourish yourself begins with being in the present moment. A strict diet often uses willpower for a certain period of time, but that usually comes to an end. Unfortunately, when most people stop their ‘diet’ they return to their familiar eating choices and patterns. However, when you get in touch with the present moment, you can notice and begin to heal the underlying causes of your need to soothe with food. Being in the ‘now’ moment empowers you to make sustainable, long-lasting changes to your health.

Getting the Support you Need

Diets are not sustainable, otherwise everyone who has ever dieted would be at their ideal weight. Most diets require quick (stressful) change with no time to transition emotionally into high-quality foods. So, let’s be honest, most people have emotions surrounding their eating habits. Often, people are surprised that their attachment to food is emotionally driven. If food choices were logical instead of emotional, everyone would simply eat the best foods for their body, adjust their portions sizes, find exercise they love and get the results they want. Plus, they would seamlessly continue this lifestyle because they know it best serves their health. However, I have yet to meet someone who can change their food patterns without addressing unmet emotional needs.

Most people discover that emotional support unravels the mystery surrounding the frustration with their “lack of willpower.” Also, they are bewildered about what to incorporate into their meals that is, not only nutritious, but also satisfying. The first step is to bring consciousness into their relationship with food. Food often serves a purpose in their lives, such as avoiding painful feelings like loneliness, unworthiness, and/or shame. You may read this and think,” I’m just lazy. I don’t have any emotional baggage.” However, digging deeper, you might find ‘good’ reasons why it has been difficult to change your eating patterns.

Another angle to consider when exploring why it’s difficult to shift your food choices is the food industry. They have made a science of creating addictive foods to increase their profits. Sugar is a great example; studies have shown it’s as addictive as heroine. However, whole, one ingredient foods from nature combined in a, delicious, health promoting way do not create cravings, in fact, they calm cravings and allow you to feel satisfied.

As a holistic nutrition counselor and licensed therapist, I support each person individually during and after the 4 month program. There is no ‘correct’ pace. The goal is forward movement at a pace that works for your lifestyle. You will not add additional foods until you are emotionally ready. This approach creates sustainable change to your eating habits because you grow emotionally while at the same time changing your food. When you are able heal and release the intense emotional need to comfort and soothe with food, you open the door to freedom and satisfaction with your food choices.

The Connection Between Spirituality and Food

Below is an article I wrote for the May 2014 edition of the Edge Magazine.

Your relationship with food can have a tremendous impact on your spiritual growth. People can often overlook the nourishment of their body when on a spiritual path. Although we are more than our body, it is the vessel that we travel with in this life. Changing Processed foods with sugar and chemical additives have a low vibration, while one ingredient foods from nature actually raise your vibration. Eating whole foods from nature calms your body and mind so that you can be conscious and present in life. On the other hand, eating pastry and having a cup of coffee can actually cause you to feel more anxious. If you are on a spiritual path, I invite you to consider the benefits of truly exploring your relationship with food. Food is a profound doorway into spiritual growth because how you experience food is how you experience life. For example, if you deprive yourself of pleasure and joy in your life, you probably deprive yourself of eating nourishing food. I often see people ‘being good’ all day with food, a.k.a. eating less than they may need or not getting the macronutrients their body requires, and then losing control at night. Our beliefs and habits are ‘mirrored’ in our food choices.

The purpose of this article is twofold. Since most readers of the Edge are focused on living life more consciously, I want to pique your interest about the possibility of awakening to your relationship with food. Life changes when you upgrade the way you nourish your body. And after making the connection to spiritual growth and upgrading the way you eat, I would like to share some valuable tips on how to create more efficiency in supporting yourself with high-quality, delicious food. I find that supplying yourself with whole natural foods that are ready to eat in your refrigerator is one of the number one ways to make sustainable changes to your eating habits.

When counseling clients, I notice that they have a sense of what foods might be good for them, but often short change themselves by choosing low-quality, processed foods. Why? One word: EMOTIONS.

Let me share an example of a woman who I’ll call Stella. Stella is highly committed to spiritual growth and came to me because she was working with a spiritual teacher who invited her to notice her feelings. She quickly realized that this was going to be a stumbling block for her because she would numb her feelings by reaching for sugar and processed carbs. She shared that she had been overweight for years and it wasn’t because she didn’t have a sense of how to eat well, it was because she didn’t allow herself to feel her feelings. Over several months, we gently untangled the root causes of her need to numb with food. This exploration allowed her to get in touch with some unresolved pain and frustration that she had been afraid to confront. Stella was willing to face these issues and through the process found her voice and got in touch with what she truly needed more of in her life and it wasn’t sugar and processed carbs. She has since calmed her sugar cravings, lost weight and flourished on her spiritual path which is opening her heart and taking her places she never dreamed she could go.

People often think nutrition is a confusing topic because of the latest fad diets and theories on best ways to eat. These ‘diets’ miss a key component: tuning into your unique body and the signs it gives you about your food choices. I invite you to explore nutrition from the perspective of your body, not your head. You may not want to admit it, but your body is far more brilliant than your head in matters of which foods are most nourishing for you. I invite you to become aware of the effect of foods during digestion and following a meal to learn which foods are best for you. The mind is often cluttered with beliefs around topics such as eating meat, dairy or whole grains based on the endless conflicting information you have received. The body will give you clear signs about what it likes and what it does not if you listen closely. Since nature is not making any new foods; one ingredient, whole foods are the best place to begin your experiment. It is unrealistic to think that something manmade is more nutritious than the profound wisdom of whole foods.

Now, let us transition into ways to make healthy eating a part of your busy life. You should know that eating well is a small part-time job and that is not going to change. With that being said, there are ways to create efficiencies in your meal planning and prep. First, it is important to get clear on the fact that you will need to feed yourself 3 to 5 times a day for the rest of your life. Daunting, I know. So, taking the time to create efficiency around meal planning and cooking is invaluable.

You might find it helpful to know that I do not cook during the week. Like most people, I have a busy schedule and the last thing I want to do after a long day is prepare dinner. It would not happen. So, I batch cook every weekend for 3-4 hours. I know what you’re thinking . . . that is a real investment of time. But do consider that people often spend at least one hour a day with cooking and clean-up which would be 7 hours a week. With batch cooking, I’m able to open my refrigerator or freezer to delicious, whole foods that are ready to eat within minutes after heating them. I believe in cooking once and eating numerous times, versus cooking once and eating once.
Here are 8 helpful tips to explore when upgrading the way you nourish yourself:

1. Organize your kitchen. Clear out all unnecessary items. Have important kitchen tools easily assessable.

2. Create a permanent, staple grocery list. Organize it by meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, staple items, etc. Include all items you purchase regularly. Leave space to write in ingredients for specific recipes each week. Tailor this list to fit your family’s needs.

3. Make a weekly grocery list. Plan your meals for the week instead of planning one meal at a time and running to the store multiple times a week. Yes, it may take you 45 minutes or more to plan food for the week, but this will save time that can be used to prepare food rather than driving and shopping.

4. If possible, include your children/or partner with food prep to save time and create connection.

5. There are two types of cooking: one that uses a recipe with multiple ingredients and has a more complex flavor; and also what I call simple cooking: a protein, healthy fat and a vegetable. So an example of the simple cooking option would be seasoned baked chicken (with the skin!), green beans with organic butter or olive oil and sea salt. Add a whole grain (if grains feel good for your unique body). I combine both styles of cooking based on preference and available time.

6. Find a rhythm that suits you. I make my grocery list on Thursday, shop on Friday and cook early Sunday morning. All of these tasks in one day make me grumpy and take more time than I am willing to give. Consider the time of day you have the most energy and make that your cooking time.

7. Make your cooking environment enjoyable. Play your favorite music, listen to a book on CD or practice consciousness by being present with the art of cooking. Surrender to cooking. Know that this is the most important way to spend your time at that moment.

8. Most food lasts well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Consider freezing half of your batch cooked food and bring it out halfway through the week.

I invite you to make changes over time at a pace that works for you. It is not beneficial to change all of your food at once as abrupt beginnings often have abrupt endings.

MAGGIE CHRISTOPHER is a certified holistic nutrition counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She combines the wisdom of whole foods nutrition along with emotionally-based therapy to support individuals in uncovering and healing the root causes of their cravings. For a free nutrition consultation visit or call 651.231.1360.