My number one resolution for the new year was to up my health game.
Way back in 2016- I was eating clean-ish, working out some, sleeping terribly, & also skipping meals way too much. My blood sugar was spiking and dropping constantly throughout the day, my circadian rhythms were ass backwards, & I was feeling it.
SO- my good friend told me about her good friend, & holistic master, Torie Borelli. I signed Zack & I up asap (he needed a lesson in health too!).
She immediately got us set up with some fun blood tests… which I actually honestly think are really fun. Is it weird I enjoy getting blood drawn? That’s probably a whole other issue- bu really, drawing blood doesn’t bother me at all & I think it’s just cool all the answers you can get from a basic blood draw.
Torie sat down with us & went over our results to kind figure out exactly what kinda supplements/tips we would need. Zack needed a lot of support for his energy levels & I really had to focus a lot of adrenal support (burnt out adrenals!). Torie is so so so knowledgeable about all of it & the best part of all- she helped both of us figure out an efficient supplement regimen to fit our needs. This is SO important because you could actually be taking things that are not helping you or actually making things worse. For example, I was taking a supplment to boost serotonin- but what we found out from some of my tests was that I actually had WAY too much serotonin so I needed to stop taking those immediately.
Taking vitamins is so much more rewarding when you really know what they’re targeting & you can actually see them working.
As for me- I am feeling BOMB in twenty seventeen!!! I have energy (thank you Torie for the Brain Octane rec…. keep reading!!), my circadian rhythms feel more normal (much less insomnia), & in general- I am just making all around more consciously healthy decisions.
OK OK, enough about me & how great I feel. I am gonna pass the mike to Torie so we can get to know about who she is, more about her company- The Vida Well, & pick her brain for some killer wellness tips you can start incorporating into your life ASAP.
** be sure to follow Torie on Instagram @THEVIDAWELL **
Fashionlush: HEY girl!! So excited to have you on the blog today- first things first… please, introduce yourself!
Torie Borrelli: Hola Amigos! My name is Torie Borrelli and I am an Integrative Holistic Nutritionist (NC), natural chef, personal trainer and as of August 2016 the founder of The Vida Well by Torie Borrelli.
How did you get started in the world of nutrition. What’s your story?
TB: My Mexican and Italian heritage birthed my love for food, and has remained that love’s encourager. From a young age, I was obsessed with helping in the kitchen and was open to all types of food. I value what cooking comes with; family, friends and times you never forget. For me, food is defined as unprocessed, in season, sustainable, and local nourishment. If you think about what our ancestors ate, that would be it! That raw, rooted, straight from the ground kind of thing. People have no idea how easy it is to throw together a well-balanced meal that nourishes and energizes from the inside out allowing you to thrive at your most optimal levels.
As a high-level competitive athlete from age 9-21, I wasn’t the same as everyone around me. I was constantly sick and faced stomach issues that doctors of all kinds couldn’t diagnose. So then it began, I hopped onto the endless self research hamster wheel trying to figure out why I felt horrible all the time, low energy, stomach issues, horrible digestion, and of course nothing worked. Doctors wanted to prescribe me drugs and tell me it was all in my head.
Finally, I had my “ah-ha” moment and I found the world of holistic healing. I tried everything from making my own liver to boost my blood cells to IVs and even hormone replacement therapy. GASP! As time went on, I read everything I could get my hands on, and did a lot of weird personal testing on myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but being able to go through the issues that so many of my current clients face on a daily basis, was a blessing in disguise.
I rode my inspiration to California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business, and minored in Nutrition. Post college, I went directly into a job as the Assistant Grower at Black Dog Farms Organics and subsequently created a pilot program for them. I sold directly to restaurants and chefs, while simultaneously managing 10 farmers’ markets in San Diego County. I even went as far as starting my own organic farm, supplying to local chefs, families, and local farmer’s markets.
After getting my hands dirty, literally, it was time to figure out what I wanted to do next… my parents drove me to identify my passion. Ultimately it was personal health issues that played the major role in my decision to pursue an education in holistic medicine and nutritional cooking at Bauman College in Berkeley. Coupled with personal experience, Berkeley inspired and motivated me to share my education with others by spreading the importance of looking at the whole self at a foundational level; especially honing in on the impact stress, food, movement, and travel has on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Fortune continued when I received an internship at Rancho La Puerta Health Spa (the #2 health spa in the world), located in Tecate, Mexico. I worked alongside the head chef, as his assistant, and supported their initiative in opening a new cooking school onsite. I analyzed recipes, managed farm-to-table tours, taught employee nutrition classes and even to this day teach both cooking and nutrition classes throughout the year.
After 8 years of working alongside leading naturopaths, chiropractors, and doctors in San Diego, I continued to feel as though I was still looking for that missing piece, which led me to create my own holistic wellness brand.
FL: When did you decide to create The Vida Well? Tell us a bit about it & what you offer.
TB: Thus, The Vida Well was born!
My love language is teaching. I have a full heart when I am teaching clients and readers about simple, yet effective lifestyle strategies such as how to incorporate whole foods proven to relieve stress, plan and create nutritious tasty meals and gain the energy, health and self-confidence they deserve. I like to call this “Tips from Torie” from time to time. My holistic health approach is one that starts in your home as a lifestyle not a quick fix. I repeat, not a quick fix. I firmly believe you get out what you put in. Using food as your medicine and understanding the relationship between food and your body is a mind blowing journey – I am still on it myself. It never ends.
Via 1-1 consultations, I develop unique, personalized programs to combat everything from daily issues, to leading chronic diseases. The personal programs are based on blood work, genetics and my personal analysis.
I also offer a seasonal TVW RESET that guides you to “cleanse/detox” the right way with real delicious whole foods. I host yearly retreats at Scorpion Bay Hotel, a remote getaway in Mexico, that incorporate healthy food, cooking classes, stress reduction, yoga and surfing.
You’re really the first I’ve mentioned this to, but stay tuned for my Mexican Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook for 2017 [*** P.S. CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS*** -erica]. I’ll be delivering a strong learning component highlighting healthy foods that help combat diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver disease.
Away from work, you can find me surfing, snowboarding, gardening, practicing yoga and pilates, testing recipes, making tonics, masterminding new potions aka doing a lot of weird hippy things, and traveling the world.
FL: Can you walk us through a typical day of eating for you (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, favorite beverage, etc.)?
TB: absolutely… here goes:
6:30 am: wake up and chug a glass of my ionized magic water with a squeeze of lemon or a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar with cayenne pepper. Then I put my Kangen water in kettle, while its getting hot I drink my cleansing spicy drink, warm water in winter, cold in summer.
7-8am: make my version Bulletproof coffee: I add ground coffee to french press, add hot water, wait 3 minutes, PRESS coffee. Add hot coffee, grass fed butter, cinnamon, Brain Octane, and collagen in blender. BLEND for 20 seconds. Add 3 drops stevia in my cup, pour from blender.
(As you are drinking your bulletproof, prep lunch.)
2pm: I make homemade ginger Meyer lemon Kombucha (it’s easy to make I swear), hot herbal tea or cold mate that I make in batches, & lunch- which is usually some sort of salad bowl. Think greens with some protein (wild salmon, poached eggs, chicken), maybe some roasted brussel sprouts or sweet potatoes, mac nut pesto, goat cheese, avocado, sauerkraut, and topped with my yummy homemade dressings – this avocado one is a fave.
Dinner: Right now it’s cold out, so I am all about warming dishes that are nutrient dense and full of flavors. Last night I made grass-fed meat ball soup with spinach and ginger, with bone broth of course. Winter dinners are usually in the slow cooker, simple baked fish, curries, bone broth based soups, meat stews, stir-fry, tacos, or spaghetti squash with meat sauce.
FL: Top 5 (or more!) must have items always in your fridge
1. Vital Farms Pasture Raised Eggs: some hardboiled, some for adding to meals
2. Bone broth: check out my simple recipe, I make 1 batch each week and freeze one, and keep one in the fridge to use for soups, stir frys, or do drink alone with some lemon and cayenne
3. Some type of fermented food- sauerkraut, kimchi, miso or kombucha
4. Grass-fed butter: I like Kerrygold or Vital Farms
6. Leafy greens: kale, chard, bok choy, spinach
7. Good quality Italian Parmesan
8. Castelvatrano Olives, for snacking of course
FL: Do you ever eat out? If so- what are some healthy restaurants you love and what do you typically order? Do you modify the menu when eating out?
TB: Yes, I do eat out, however, I am VERY particular with where I go. A few of my local favorites are:
+ Little Lion: my local GO-TO spot. Not only do I love supporting a female (3 sister) owned business, but everything on the menu is AMAZING! From their superfood bowls to their organic fried chicken, they will not disappoint. They also have a stellar wine and beer list :)
+ Tender Greens: everything is organic, local and sustainable. My go to is a plate with their grass-fed steak, it comes with mashed potatoes and salad, I sub mashed potatoes for their seasonal roasted veggies. (So much food or only $13!!)
+ Fish 101 is a husband and wife duo seafood business in Encinitas that cares deeply about the ocean and healthy living. They catch their seafood daily, support local farmers, and the owners wife makes all the Gluten free desserts by hand. Everything is amazing, I always order oysters (they have HH $1 oysters 4-6pm) seafood curry, grilled fish/shrimp tacos, seared tuna appetizer, and grilled romaine. Great for groups because you order at the counter.
+ Sushi: this is probably my favorite food on earth, but you have to be careful with fish and high levels of toxins especially heavy metals, and good sushi is pricey. There are a couple in SD that use the Seafood Watch, a sustainable guide for fish. I always bring my Brain Octane (check out my explanation on Brain Octane here) with me to add to my sushi rice (shh this helps you burn fat!!).
+ Supannee and Sab E Lee are my favorite Thai Food spots in San Diego. They both use local produce and if you order the right foods you can get a really healthy clean meal. I always order soups (they are all bone broth based) papaya salads, lettuce wraps, fresh spring rolls and whole fish!
FL: Cooking tips, tricks, or hacks to make life easier, while still being nutritious.
TB: Start your day with Bulletproof coffee (if you don’t drink coffee, you can use tea!). Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of the right h20. This helps your body detoxify, cleanse, and speeds up your metabolic pathways. Learn more about my amazing, some might even call me crazy water lady, water ways.
ALSO- Plan. Plan. Plan. I know all of our lives are completely hectic and as much as I tell all my clients to plan, sometimes I just don’t have the time or it gets away from me. Pick 1 or 2 days depending on your schedule to meal prep. During this time make salad dressings/sauces, roast veggies, cook protein in a slow cooker (meat, chicken or pork), hard boil eggs, & whip up a chicken or tuna salad. This will keep you covered when you’re in a time crunch throughout the week!
FL: Let’s talk about bone broth, cause it’s all the rage these days! Can you tell us why it’s so good for you/us + share your fave bone broth recipe!
TB: Ha! I should have read all the questions first! As you can see I love bone broth, in this blog post I tell you why this should be a staple in your regime, plus how to make it. You also can find it in any health food store, make sure it is grass-fed, usually in the frozen section.
FL: For someone not ready to take the leap into the world of holistic nutrition but is looking to improve overall health- what are some good wellness supplements you recommend?
TB: so much of my work is based on creating personalized recommendations based on unique preferences, lab work, etc… but here is my list of what everyone should be taking on a daily basis:
1. Vitamin D3: this is key for your immune system
2. Probiotics: gut health, immunity, you can get them through fermented foods too!
3. B Complex: we are all stressed! This is depleted quickly, replace it daily :)
4. Magnesium Calm Powder: 80 % of us are deficient and Magneisum is used by every organ in your body! I use it for sleep, bowel movements, and muscle recovery.
FL: Any general advice or quick tips for busy ladies on a budget looking to increase their overall health/well being.
TB: Practice intermittent fasting a couple times a week. It’s great for longevity, weight loss, and energy. See how here.
Get rid of plastic. Seriously. Do. It. Now. It is a HUGE hormone disruptor!
Clean up what you put on your skin, it is our biggest organ!
Eat more fat! (The good kind- avocados, olives, coconut oil, nuts, grass fed meats, eggs, wild fish, organic olive oils and pasture raised butter!)
Don’t do cleanses or detox programs that are short lived and really hard on the body, choose resets and lifestyle practices that make you feel good, not deplete you.
FL: What’s the craziest nutrition myth you’ve ever heard of?
TB: Low-fat products are good for you. FAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU FAT! A high fat way of life actually helps you BURN FAT, crazy right? I have found myself teaching clients, friends and family this concept over and over lately. Unfortunately, our food “controllers” have tricked us into believing that fat is bad and is our enemy.
I blame this “trend” as the culprit to our obesity epidemic in the US. Our food controllers, we will call them, pulled the fat out of all our food and what did they do? Added sugar (and a whole lot of other ingredients you can’t even begin to pronounce). Luckily, my family has never been one to use margarine or other low fat foods. My mom is Mexican. My dad, Italian. We use lard, extra virgin olive oil and my parents were never shy using BUTTER.
Fat tells our brains to optimize their potential, meaning less brain fog, more fat burning, and overall higher energy. Think about it, you get to eat foods such as grass-fed butter and ghee (clarified butter for those of you who can’t have dairy), olives, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, grass-fed meats, and lots and lots of veggies! Fat signals our brain to acknowledge that we are satisfied, which in turn curbs sugar cravings, and keeps us feeling full. Did I mention this way of eating BURNS our OWN FAT that we have stored to use for fuel? That’s my favorite part because it means you can eat fat and burn fat at the same time!
FL: LASTLY- always my fave question! If we dumped out your purse right this minute, what would we find?
+ Paw Paw Chapstick from Australia [***P.S. ordering this now!!***]
+ Homemade hand sanitizer made with 2.5 Acidic water (from my Kangen machine) mixed with lemon essential oil
+ My Kangen water bottle
+ Organic tea bags or Yerba mate