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niki | the skinny confidential 4
niki | the skinny confidential 3

Well, hi hello.

This post is a medley of sorts. I suppose it may be confusing if you haven’t listened to the latest podcast. As the description states: “Basically, holistic vegan chef & health/nutrition counselor, Niki Connor, joins Lauryn & Michael to discuss tips for preventing exhaustion & inflammation, why you should cut out chemically processed foods from your diet, the importance of creating a sleep routine, & Niki even shares a recipe for making an at-home holistic smoothie. We also hear the trio talk about what candida is & the effects it can have on your body and Niki breaks down the basic science behind Ayurveda and how it holistically relates to diet, the mind, body, & soul.”

As I told you on the podcast, I wanted to go DEEPER with Niki. Of course she’s been on The Skinny Confidential before BUT I still had so many questions, you know?

I needed like a written out list. SO your wish, or my wish, is my command.

Let’s start with the basics. INFLAMMATION, K? Niki shares the deets:

5 Tips to Reduce Whole Body Inflammation

1.) Consume more anti-inflammatory & fermented foods.

* Turmeric: reduces swelling & pain.

* Berries: antioxidants…yes please!

* Sweet potatoes: beta-carotene…& a GREAT carb.

* Nuts & seeds: fats, protein, iron.

* Mushrooms: Vitamin D!!

* Garlic: contains allicin, regulates blood sugar, & aids in digestion.

* Dark leafy greens: Vitamin K ~~!!!

* Pineapple: Vitamin C & enzymes.

* Sauerkraut & Kimchi.

* Kombucha: No more than half a glass per day due to the sugar content- but it’s great.

* Pickled vegetables- YUM.

* Yogurt: Coconut yogurt is awesome!

2.) Go organic: Fewer pesticides, free of hormones, & antibiotics.

3.) Exercise: get your body moving at least 5 days a week, & mix it up to keep it fun- also avoid injury.

4.) Avoid alcohol: high alcohol consumption causes blood cells & tissues to swell, leading to Chronic Pancreatitis.

5.) Avoid gluten & wheat: whether you’re gluten-sensitive, celiac, or don’t have a sensitivity at all, avoiding gluten & wheat is essential. Gluten has been linked to over 55 diseases. The gluten we consume today isn’t the same as what our grandparents enjoyed, this scientifically created gluten is bad news! Inflammation & leaky gut are the most common results of gluten consumption.

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Holistic Chef Niki’s Super Smoothie

+ 1 handful of baby spinach
+ 1 banana
+ 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
+ 1 tbsp liquid aloe
+ 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
+ 3 Medjool dates, pits removed.
+ 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
+ Filtered water ( to thin as needed )
+ 1 pinch cinnamon

+ Directions: combine all ingredients in high-powdered blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass & enjoy. 

++ This is the base I like to work with, but I don’t consume the same smoothie every day. I mix it up.


Sometimes I remove the cacao and add pineapple, apple or cucumber instead.

I alternate the addition of maca root, Spirulina, or OMMushrooms powder.

I add 1 tbsp of almond or peanut butter or 1 scoop of an organic vegan protein powder if I’m drinking this right after a workout.

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doscha test here babes

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If you want your baked salmon to turn out perfect EVERY SINGLE TIME, try this method. You can use different sauces and marinades, but baking it this way will ensure that it’s perfectly cooked.

Holistic Chef Niki’s Baked Salmon

+ 12 ounce salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces

+ Coarse-grained sea salt or Himalayan pink salt

 + Fresh ground black pepper

+ 1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

+ Directions: Preheat the oven to 450F. Season salmon with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place salmon, skin side down, on a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until salmon is cooked through, about 15 min. If your oven is very powerful, check the salmon at 12min first.

Sauce: Add on top right before serving

Holistic Chef Niki’s Cilantro-Lime Chutney

+ 1 bunch of cilantro (1 big handful), stems removed

+ 1 small green onion, chopped

+ 1 clove of garlic, chopped

+ 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (spine removed for less spice if desired)

+ 1 tbs lime juice

+ Zest of 1 lime

+¼ cup coconut yogurt

 + Ground black pepper (to taste)

+ Himalayan pink salt (to taste)

+ Directions: Place cilantro, green onion, garlic and pepper in a small food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, then add the lime juice and yogurt and pulse again until combined. Make sure it’s still chunky and not blended smoothly. Enjoy!

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Holistic Chef Niki’s Grocery Essentials:

Splurge once, then you’ll have your essentials! As you can see, this list is all vegan foods, so if you aren’t vegan like me, make sure that all meat and dairy are grass-fed and eggs are pasteurizedDon’t forget to store all nuts and seeds in the refrigerator and flour in the freezer, this is very important to avoid spoiling. In addition to this list, fresh produce can be purchased weekly ( unless you’re traveling ), & most of these items last long, so you won’t have to replace them often. In the end, you’re saving on doctor & smoothie shop visits. All certified organic too!

* Unsweetened almond milk- I often make my own, but when I’m short on time, I buy unsweetened almond milk. Make sure that the ingredients are almonds and water, no added chemicals.

* Walnuts– High in omega-3’s, great to help prevent and cure headaches, and delicious raw or toasted.

* Raw almonds– Contrary to popular belief, truly raw almonds are difficult to find. Due to a sanitation scare at an almond farm years ago, California almonds are not actually raw unless purchased directly from an almond farmer. The almonds you buy in the store that are ‘raw’ are actually flash-steamed. I’m not saying they’re bad for you, but if you want the real thing, go to your local farmer’s market.

* Raw cashews– These are big for me, I use them in many sauces, make vegan cheese with them, etc. Enjoy in moderation!

* Raw sunflower seeds– I make a raw blended “cheese” with this.

* Raw Pepitas ( pumpkin seeds )- Delicious and nutritious when eaten raw or lightly toasted.

* Nutritional Yeast– B Vitamins. I blend this with raw sunflower seeds and herbs for a “cheese” topping on dishes.

* Pine nuts– Monounsaturated fats, protein, iron, and magnesium. I use them raw blended in sauces or toasted on top of dishes.

* Quinoa pasta– I eat this at least twice a week and don’t gain a pound.

* Black bean or red lentil pasta– high in protein and very filling, a little goes a long way! Pair this with a simple tomato sauce or garlic, herbs, and a bit of EVOO.

* EVOO ( extra virgin olive oil )– Monounsaturated fatty oils. I use different olive oils for different dishes; I have a more standard one I use as a base, then I buy olive oils with particular flavor components to brighten dishes. Make sure it’s cold-pressed and organic Extra Virgin olive oil in a dark bottle.

* Coconut oil- Rich in fatty acids, this one by Organic Fiji is my favorite. I use it for cooking, skin care, hair care, lube, you name it!

* Avocado oil– Rich in Vitamin E with high fat content, this is great for high-heat cooking. Do not, I repeat, do not cook with sesame oil. It can’t handle high heat cooking, so it’s best to use that oil in a sauce added after cooking.

* Raw & unfiltered ACV ( Apple Cider Vinegar )– Potassium, magnesium, probiotics.

Lentils– Protein, magnesium, and fiber.

* Sprouted Mung Beans– B Vitamins, protein, and fiber.

* Brown rice– Some people don’t digest rice well, but as someone who was born and partially raised in Japan, I’ve been eating rice all my life & it definitely agrees with me.

* Quinoa– I like to make a batch of quinoa or brown rice early in the week and have a little a day all week. That way my cooking time at home is cut in half, too! I usually choose quinoa over rice due to the higher protein content and calcium.

* Almond butter– more Vitamin E, magnesium, and iron than peanut butter. I still eat peanut butter, but not as often. A little almond butter in a smoothie or with sliced apple is delicious!

* Garbanzo beans- I’m a hummus addict & totally make my own. I sprout them beforehand for more nutrients when I have time, but I’m usually pressed for time when making hummus, so I buy certified organic canned beans and rinse them before use or buy them raw and soak before use. High in protein and great for hummus, or if you toast them at 400F for 15 minutes tossed in herbs, spices, or just olive oil and salt, they’re a great crispy addition to salads, etc.

* Gluten-free rolled oats– I use these for oatmeal and baking.

* Almond meal flour– Iron, Vitamin E, calcium, potassium.

* Garbanzo bean flour– fiber, protein, iron, zinc.

* Ground flaxseed– it’s best to purchase flax seeds ground so that your body isn’t doing the extra work of breaking them down first.

* Chia seeds– high in omega-3 fatty acids; a little goes a long way! You can make chia pudding with them, add them to smoothies and salads, they go with almost anything!

* Tahini ( sesame seed paste )- high in B vitamins and Vitamin E as well as essential minerals, I use a little tahini in my hummus, creamy dressings and sauces, marinades, etc.

* Dijon mustard– I use this minimally in salad dressings, sauces, etc.

* Himalayan pink salt– balances electrolytes, balances pH, hydrates, etc.

* Sea salt- sodium, potassium, zinc, magnesium.

* Ground black pepper- increases hydrochloric acid in the stomach to ease digestion and helps break down fat cells.

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* Turmeric– root or powder, this is an essential for its anti-inflammatory & immune-boosting benefits.

* Garlic- the antioxidant allicin ( only released when garlic is smashed and left for 10 minutes before use)  is essential, & garlic also regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol.

* Kitchari mix– I grind my own spices & make my own spice blends.

* Hingvastak– an Ayurvedic herbal blend for Vata that’s excellent when consumed with beans and legumes or soups and stews, it supports healthy digestion & prevents gas and bloating.

* Raw Cacao Powder– I use this for smoothies and baking and use raw cacao paste in cacao ceremonies. Don’t add dairy milk to teas or cocoa, it interferes with iron absorption. I know that the English drink their tea with milk & sugar, but unfortunately that’s not the healthy way to drink it!

* Valerian Root Tea– I drink this before bed along with a magnesium supplement to fall asleep easier.

* Peppermint Tea– I order this almost every time I dine out and also drink it at home after meals to ease digestion.

* Chai Tea– I’m obsessed with chai tea, but don’t make lattes at home. I like to steep the tea and use it in oatmeal for added flavor, too!

* Triple Leaf Tea: Ultra Slim: use this tea for “emergencies” ( traveling, special events, etc ). It’s not safe to use on a regular basis due to the fact that it makes you very dehydrated, but if you’re having digestive issues while traveling or need to feel and look your best for an event, drink a cup before bed and you’ll be good by morning! Unlike those “skinny teas”, this doesn’t cause cramping or contain harmful chemicals. ( Also the POO POO TEA WE TALKED ABOUT IN THE PODCAST ).

+ follow Holistic Chef Niki on Instagram.

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QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS? Niki is here to answer. In the meantime check her out on TSC Podcast. She’s fab.

I’m off to watch Billions ( kind of obsessed ). What show should we watch next? We are chilling for the next two months. Seriously though, no dairy, red meat, alcohol, or white carbs- you know? I think I will print out this grocery list for myself. NEED IT? Anyway, how are you prepping for summer? With that I’m off to drink POO POO TEA & WATCH Axe. Axe is life if you watch Billions.

See ya tomorrow, lauryn x

+ be sure to listen to the latest podcast– we dive into CANDIDA, INFLAMMATION,  AYURVEDIC PRACTICES, & FATIGUE. Niki is so well-informed & this is a podcast you don’t want to miss. ENJOY ( & take your Dosha quiz PLZ ).


  1. Another awesome podcast episode! I’m a major fan of Ayurveda wellness, and it’s really helped me. I’m a Vata, through and through, and apply the principles daily for physical and mental health. As for tv shows – I’m desperately trying to understand ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’; but just like the original series, it’s beyond confusing and bizarre, haha.

    1. Learning about Ayurveda is fascinating! SO thrilled you enjoyed this episode. Hopefully it starts making more sense for you soon LOL. x

  2. This is SO SO SO SO good!

    These are the posts I really can’t get enough of. I mean WHAT’s MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS???? Not much if you ask me.

    I’m happy to know I have most of these ingredients in my kitchen <3 Phew!

    Love u Lauryn!!

  3. I will definitely have new things to add to my shopping list … but I cannot exclude a good glass of wine from my life. The inflammation would be gone but I think I would be deeply depressed, it’s all a question of balance 😉

    1. Niki starts talking about it 26 minutes into the podcast! If you want more details you should definitely email her: : ) x

  4. I went to Whole Foods to buy the “poo poo tea” last night and it was out of stock! Blaming this post and your podcast for it lol. Had to purchase it on Amazon instead! Great tips!!

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