Recipe: Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto

pumpkin seed cilantro pesto

This amazing pesto combines protein-rich pumpkin seeds and liver detoxifying cilantro into a delicious pesto that can be used as a dip for vegetables or a sauce for spaghetti squash.

pumpkin seed cilantro pesto

Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto

Makes approximately 1 cup


  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro (approximately 1 bunch)
  • 3/4 cup baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chickpea miso paste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. To toast pumpkin seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium and spread pumpkin seeds evenly in the pan. Heat seeds for 2-3 minutes until they become fragrant and begin to pop.

  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine pumpkin seeds, cilantro, spinach, garlic, lime juice, miso, oil, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Thin with additional oil, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Cook’s notes: Try parsley in place of cilantro, if desired. Sunflower seeds make a delicious substitution for pumpkin seeds.

Chickpea miso adds the savory umami flavor usually created by Parmesan cheese traditionally found in most pesto recipes.

To freeze, scoop into a freezable container leaving 1 inch of space at the top to allow pesto to expand as it free.

Labels: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Paleo, 30 minutes or less

For more information on detoxification, check out our members-only Archived Webinars.

Lisa MarkleyLisa Markley, MS, RDN is a dietitian, culinary nutrition expert, and co-author of The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. As a seasoned culinary educator and recipe developer, Lisa translates nutrition science to the plate using health-supportive ingredients prepared with peak flavor, seasonality, and nutrient density in mind. She shares her kitchen wisdom and food-as-medicine recipes to teach others how to harness the healing power of whole foods for vibrant health.

Recipe shared with permission from The Essential Thyroid Cookbook by Lisa Markley and Jill Grunewald, published by Blue Wheel PressTM. Recipes © 2017 by Lisa Markley, MS, RDN. Food photography © 2016 by Kenny Johnson.

Recipe: Ginger Turmeric Soup

ginger turmeric soup

As the fall weather rolls in and the temperatures drop, the sniffles and coughs are quick to follow. So I like to combat my sniffles by making this soup that has quite a kick to it due to the garlic, turmeric, and ginger.

Garlic, turmeric, and ginger have received a lot of attention lately due to their possible medicinal properties. Ginger has been known to help stomach aches, nausea, and arthritis pain, while garlic has been known to help with congestion, stomach pain, and sinus infections. Turmeric contains curcumin which is known as an antioxidant and for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is what gives turmeric that bright yellow color.

Lately turmeric has become quite popular in health focused grocery stores.  You now see turmeric teas, lattes, and food items with added turmeric becoming more mainstream. Although turmeric is touted for its health and medicinal qualities, it is important to discuss taking turmeric in regular medicinal amounts as a supplement with a physician.

Turmeric has a bit of a potent smell and flavor when consumed in large quantities; however, it can go undetected with the addition of 1-2 tsp in certain items, which still allows you to reap in some of its benefits.

Some ways to add turmeric to your everyday diet:

  • Add it to your oatmeal
  • Make a ‘golden latte’ with turmeric and warm milk and honey
  • Add turmeric to your sauces or smoothies
  • Add it to your cooked vegetables
  • Add it to rice to give it a golden yellow color
ginger turmeric soup

Ginger Turmeric Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 inch piece peeled ginger root
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups kale leaves
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups egg noodles
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Fresh lemon juice from ½ lemon (optional)


  1. In a large pot, drizzle the 1 tbsp olive oil and bring to medium heat. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant.

  2. Add water and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn heat down to a simmer, then add ginger, beans, kale, carrots, spices, and cook for about 10 minutes.

  3. Next add the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Add the cayenne pepper and lemon juice if you are looking for more of a kick!

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information:
Calories 213, Fat 3g, Saturated fat 0g, Carbohydrates 38g, fiber 9g, sugar 9g, protein 10g

For more information on garlic and turmeric, check out our fact sheet available for DIFM Members here.

Morgan GiannattasioMorgan Giannattasio, MS, RD, LDN is an experienced health and wellness dietitian and new a resident of Dallas TX. She received her Bachelor’s degree in dietetics from SUNY Oneonta and went on to receive her Master’s degree in nutrition from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Currently Morgan is seeking out new opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach with her dog and family.

Featured Student Member: Anita Davila

Featured Student Anita DavilaDIFM is elated to highlight our first Featured Student Member, Anita Davila.  Anita completed her didactic program in dietetics and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Food and Nutrition from the University of Alabama in 2015. She has spent time volunteering for a hospital near her home in Chicago, IL, where she assisted the clinical nutrition manager with various tasks. Recently she has started volunteering for the North Suburban Academy of Dietetics located in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, handling portions of their social media and public policy. She is now the student member services co-chair for DIFM DPG and also helps with the Instagram portion of the marketing committee. Anita will be taking the dietetic technician registration examination this year to obtain the NDTR credential and potentially work as a diet tech while she applies for, and secures a dietetic internship spot.

Who or what inspired you to become interested in integrative and functional nutrition?

A series of events over a period of time is what led me to DIFM DPG. I think I first was exposed to the word “functional” when I took a research course in undergrad that required a textbook on Functional Foods. Reading about all the different added health benefits of many food components made the concept of “food as medicine” really sink in. Another thing that sparked interest was learning about nutrigenetics and epigenetics. I really loved the idea that nutrients can alter genetic expression. Then I started becoming curious about the power of herbs and supplements, which traditional dietetics training doesn’t really cover much of. But lastly, what really made me want to look into a more integrative approach was my disagreement with the 3500 kcal = 1 lb rule for weight loss. Seeing how difficult it is for most people to lose weight, and feeling disheartened by the the “x-number-of-kcal meal plan and out-the-door” approach, I knew I needed to look outside the box. I knew well that weight gain/loss (and health in general) are multifactorial. You cannot remedy it by merely calories in and calories out. We are not robots. There are a myriad of things that are at play: hormones, genetics, stress, environment, psychology, etc. I realized that I wanted to become a dietitian who will honor all of these things and addresses them in her practice. The word functional rang a bell again when I was looking through the list of DPG’s a couple of years ago, and when I looked into DIFM it just clicked; this is where I belong.

What area of practice do you plan to go into and how do you plan to secure a job that utilizes integrative and functional nutrition?

At this point I’m very open to things. Retail dietetics seems fun to me as a starter job, but some clinical areas, such as oncology and renal dietetics, also interest me. At this point I believe my dream job would be to be a part of a large private practice or health center where a team of Integrative and Functional Medicine practicing RDN’s, MD’s,  and other health care providers come together to care for patients and clients. I’m not sure how I’ll eventually get there, but I’ll start by gearing towards that path by networking as much within our DPG, attending conferences, and obtaining further training in Integrative and Functional Medicine.

Featured Student Member Anita DavilaWhat education or training in integrative and functional nutrition have you completed or what education or training in integrative and functional nutrition do you plan to complete in the future?

I haven’t completed any specific training in IFM yet, but my first stop will be the Online Certificate of Training Program in Integrative and Functional Nutrition offers red through the Academy’s Center of Lifelong Learning. Once I become an RD and maybe find my niche, I might look into specific IFM trainings, such as advanced hormone/endocrine training.

What advice would you give other students interested in learning more about integrative and functional nutrition?

My first suggestion would be to join DIFM, if they haven’t already; for only $20 per year we get a wealth of resources and opportunities to learn, network, and become involved with the profession. The Integrative RD, our quarterly newsletter is a great member benefit resource where even DIFM newbies, such as me, can get a good sense of what Integrative and Functional Medicine in dietetics practice is all about.

Thank you so much, Anita, for offering us more insight on the student’s journey with Integrative and Functional Nutrition!

Are you a nutrition and dietetics student interested in joining DIFM? Check out the valuable benefits of Student Membership here.  

Recipe: Mega Green Spirulina Smoothie

mega green spirulina smoothie

This Mega Green Spirulina Smoothie is a perfect mix of antioxidants, fiber, satiating and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, plant-based protein with a touch of natural sweetness to nourish your body and aid in its natural ability to detox. Enjoy post-workout or any time of day!

mega green spirulina smoothie
5 from 1 vote

Mega Green Spirulina Smoothie

Servings 1


  • 2 cups kale or spinach
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 small green apple or ½ large
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk more or less depending on desired consistency
  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 3 pitted medjool dates
  • 2 scoops brown rice protein powder or other plant-based protein powder of choice
  • 1 tsp Spirulina powder


  1. Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and mix well. Pour and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Dietary Specifications: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan


To further enhance your integrative and functional medicine mindset, check out our Archived Webinars for DIFM Members!

Joanna FoleyJoanna Foley, RD, has been practicing since 2014 and has worked as both a clinical dietitian and, more recently, a renal dietitian. She is passionate about promoting behavior changes that lead to a healthier, higher quality of life using food as medicine. Joanna enjoys experimenting with new recipes, traveling and running half marathons. Connect with her on Instagram (@joannafoleyrd), FacebookLinkedIn and Pinterest.

Featured Member: Denine Rogers, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

We are thrilled to bring your attention to our DIFM Secretary, Denine Rogers, as this month’s Featured Member! Denine is an Integrative Registered Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Living Healthy, which is a unique nutrition, health, and wellness consulting business in Douglasville, Georgia. Denine has been a wellness food and nutritional lifestyle management consultant for over 15 years to food service companies, hospitals, federal government programs, educational institutions, corporations, small businesses and healthcare facilities. Denine works full-time as a Telemedicine Nutritional Consultant with Anthem where she is currently doing a Facebook Live presentation on Health Equity in the African American Population. 

Denine Rogers featured member

What is your area of practice and how do you incorporate integrative and functional nutrition into your work?

My areas of practice are herbal medicine, aromatherapy, stress management and whole food therapies.  I am writing articles and doing speaking engagements on herbal medicine and aromatherapy, but I am starting to incorporate more of this into my private practice.  Currently, for my private practice clients, I have been teaching the importance of whole food therapies, detoxification, inflammation diet plans and digestive health with the 5R protocol.  I incorporate a wellness approach of promoting lifestyle factors that can significantly decrease total body burden, which can also reduce the risk of chronic disease development and progression.  I have been using the Integrative & Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy (IFMNT) Radial for my assessments on clients.  The following five key factors of the IFMNT Radial affecting health are physical activity, restorative sleep, stress resiliency, mindfulness, spiritual practices, and connection to nature and community. All of these lifestyle factors contribute to a nutrition care process and have resulted in a personalized, meaningful and positive transformation for the client.

What ​are some of the results your clients have seen since integrating functional nutrition​ into your practice area?​

Some of my clients appreciate that I took the time to speak with them and that my assessments, teachings, and recommendations are based on viewing the person as a whole person through personalized integrative nutrition and functional medicine which has benefited them. I had a patient who had chronic digestive issues with her IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) of recurrent bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea or constipation. She tried endlessly to find relief through medication, but this did not help. She was very stressed out about her symptoms and how it has been affecting her work.  I did an assessment based on her lifestyle with food & diet, stress level, exercise, sleep and supplements. I asked her if we can try the FODMAPs diet plan for the next 6-8 weeks along with probiotics. Also, I recommend the patient try stress-free exercises such yoga, meditation and tai chi.  Within four weeks, her symptoms subsided, and her high-stress level had gone down.  She slowly started to do the reintroduction phase of FODMAP along with using a food symptom journal.  She told me that this had changed her life for the better.

Denine Rogers featured memberWhere have you completed most of your training in integrative and functional nutrition?

It starts with having the opportunity to become a volunteer Master Gardener for the State of Georgia. I enjoyed teaching my community about gardening, whole foods therapy, and food sustainability. I then decided to go back to school for my Master’s Degree in the specialized area that I love which is herbal medicine and aromatherapy. In January of this year, I completed my Master’s Degree in Complementary Alternative Medicine with a Graduate Certificate in Herbal Medicine.  I also did other certificate programs in other schools online on Natural Wellness, Alternative & Complementary Nutrition, Herbal Supplements, Holistic Health Practitioner and Holistic Chef for Animals.

Use your knowledge as a platform to educate and inspire. Click To Tweet

What advice would you give anyone interested in learning more about integrative and functional nutrition?

Find out what you are interested and passionate in pursuing in the field of integrative and functional medicine.  I would check out the DIFM Integrative and Functional Nutrition Modules.  There are so many things that you can learn in this exciting field. It can be mindful eating with yoga and meditation or getting involved in understanding the current research of nutrigenomics.  When you decide on your desired focus, then review its evidence-based research approaches.  Use your knowledge as a platform to educate and inspire, which in turn can help your clients to achieve and maintain a high degree of nutrition and wellness throughout their daily life.

Thank you for sharing with us, Denine!

Are you ready to join DIFM?  Learn more here.  Would you like to explore educational opportunities in integrative and functional nutrition?  Check out our free Functional Nutrition Tool Kit.

Featured Member: Ryan Whitcomb, RD, CLT

We are delighted to shine the spotlight on former Executive Committee member, Ryan Whitcomb, as this month’s Featured Member! Ryan is a registered dietitian and Certified LEAP Therapist specializing in digestive health.  He is the owner of GUT RXN Nutrition, a virtual private practice based in Jersey City, NJ.  Ryan previously served on the Executive Committee of DIFM as the Volunteer Chair and when he’s not healing the masses, can be found recovering in child’s pose.

Ryan Whitcomb

​What is your area of practice and how do you incorporate integrative and functional nutrition into your work?

My primary focus is in non-IgE food sensitivity reactions, which encompasses many common conditions like IBS, celiac disease, eczema and others.  I became certified in LEAP therapy in July 2014 and have been working with this population ever since.  LEAP is a great example of how I incorporate integrative and functional nutrition into my practice, since it uncovers the root cause of a patient’s imbalance.  In fact, LEAP can be considered the first “R” in the 5R program – the removal of inflammatory triggers.  Conventional medicine barely recognizes the role of the diet in the pathogenesis of disease.  When it does, practitioners feel comfortable telling their patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, but in IFN, there’s so much more to it than that.  Sometimes fruits and vegetables are either the cause or an underlying factor in someone’s pain!  I also believe we are all biochemically individual and treat my clients accordingly with genetic testing, when appropriate.  This is a great way to see what’s going on under the hood and initiate an intervention based on their genes and current signs and symptoms.  Why wait for disease to appear if we can prevent (or at least delay) it?

Why wait for disease to appear if we can prevent (or at least delay) it? Click To Tweet

What ​are some of the results your clients have seen since integrating functional nutrition​ into your practice area?

Clients have had partial or complete remission of symptoms, better quality of life but most importantly, answers to their questions.  Oftentimes people have seen a number of other practitioners before they find me and are usually at their wits end.  Using functional nutrition as my go-to has yet to fail!

Where have you completed most of your training in integrative and functional nutrition?

I started with Susan Allen’s IFMNT course when it was first offered based on a completely random conversation I had with her regarding the addictive properties of dairy.  Since I was a relatively new RD at the time, I had no idea what she was talking about but committed myself to learning more.  After I completed her course in August 2013, I then joined DIFM and listened to as many webinars as I could get my hands on.  I’ve also attended the Integrative Healthcare Symposium for the past few years and am currently enrolled in the MS program in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine at the University of Western States.  With all this training, you’d think I know it all…but there’s still so much to know!

What advice would you give anyone interested in learning more about integrative and functional nutrition?

Go for it!  It’ll open up a whole new world for you if you let it.  Consumers expect more from their practitioners nowadays, and we need to step up to the plate so that we are adequately prepared to help them.  Start slow though so you don’t overwhelm yourself.  Joining DIFM is a great place to start. It has fantastic resources that will help you learn at your own pace.  As Rita so eloquently stated last month, “you can’t afford not to.”

Thank you for sharing with us, Ryan!

Are you ready to join DIFM?  Learn more here.  Would you like to explore educational opportunities in integrative and functional nutrition?  Check out our free Functional Nutrition Tool Kit.

Featured DIFM Member: Rita Kashi Batheja, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND

Rita Kashi Batheja DIFM Member

Rita Kashi Batheja (left) and Sister Shivani, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization (right)

We are honored to highlight Rita Kashi Batheja as our Featured DIFM Member for August.  Passion for people drives Rita to provide personalized Integrative & Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy in her private practice in Baldwin Harbor, Long Island, NY. This nationally and internationally recognized RDN was instrumental in the formation of DIFM in 1998. Rita enjoyed serving on its Executive Committee (EC) since its inception by playing a key role as Nominating Committee Member, Member Services Chair, Reimbursement Chair, Public Policy Chair and Diversity Chair. Currently she serves as a Diversity Committee Member. She also initiated DIFM’s Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance (SOP/SOPP) for Registered Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine.

How would you best describe what you do in a nutshell, including how you incorporate integrative and functional nutrition into your work?

Everyday is a different day for me. Every patient has been evaluated utilizing Integrative and Functional Medical Nutritional Therapy and the IFMNT Radial. I also lead patients to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) website to look at the AAPI’s free ebooks on functional medicine and nutritional genomics.

Everybody has stress, so one priority is making patients feel at ease in whatever their belief is! As we all know almost everybody believes in integrative therapies, and I extend the conversation to let patients know about functional medicine, its principles and evidence-based practice.

What do you love most about integrative and functional nutrition?

I come from a country where Mahatma Gandhi was born. He believed in nonviolence, peace, yoga and Ayurveda. All these originated from India, and these are some of the modalities of integrative therapies. Spiritualism is rooted in me, and evidence-based practice of Western countries makes the best of East and West. I love to go to the root of the problem rather than treating symptoms. I love meeting like-minded clinicians around the world.  I always liked the supplement part of functional medicine and incorporate high quality supplements in my practice.

Where have you completed most of your training in integrative and functional nutrition?

As a member of DIFM DPG, I learn about integrative and functional nutrition from the state of the art listserv and newsletter. I also associate with registered dietitian nutritionists on DIFM’s executive committee. By volunteering for DIFM, I’ve made friends for life and what I’ve learned from them is unmatched. I shall continue to volunteer and learn from the younger generation, moving into social media with the speed of light.

I volunteered my time going the extra mile and throughout my journey met best practitioners, like Ruth DeBusk, PhD, RD, Dr. Jeffrey Bland, and Diana Noland, MPH, RDN, CCN, LD at various events, such as Food as Medicine, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP), and the Integrative Healthcare Symposium (IHS).  I took a course on Ayurveda at Columbia University with Dr. Vasant Lad, Founder of Ayurvedic Institute from Albuquerque, NM, and then attended Dr. Deepak Chopra’s session in New York City.

I became a member of The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and listen to once a month grand rounds by experts from the Cleveland Clinic. Besides attending one or two webinars to increase my knowledge, I started to attend free summits by experts on a daily basis.

Rita Kashi Batheja DIFM Member

Rita Kashi Batheja (left) at AAPI with renowned yoga guru Baba Ramdev (center)

What advice would you give anyone interested in learning more about integrative and functional nutrition?

My advice for people is they cannot afford not to be a member of DIFM no matter what setting they work in! You need to be prepared to answer consumers when they ask you questions since we are considered nutrition experts who provide quality nutrition advice and protect the public. The IFMNT Radial says it all, and one needs to study it thoroughly and watch the video on DIFM’s home page. DIFM RDN’s have written five invaluable modules as an online training program, which are available from the Academy’s store.

Two of DIFM’s past chairs and one past EC member have come up with their own programs which are a good place to start: Susan Allen-Evenson’s Next Level Functional Nutrition and Sheila Dean’s and Kathie Swift’s IFNA program. Jaime Schehr, RDN, ND teaches a one day course in New York City, Long Island and Westchester, NY. You can also check on DIFM’s website in the resources section. The Asian Indians in Nutrition and Dietetics Member Interest Group (AIND MIG) of the Academy is offering almost all webinars on integrative and functional medicine topics at no cost. All Academy members are welcome to attend.

I always surround myself with chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, aromatherapists, kineseologists and massage therapists for their expertise. Keep an open mind, and it will be a very fulfilling experience.

Thank you for sharing a wealth of information with us, Rita!

Are you ready to join DIFM?  Learn more here.  Would you like to explore educational opportunities in integrative and functional nutrition?  Check out our free Functional Nutrition Tool Kit.

DIY Nut Butters

Nut Butters

Advantages of Making Your Own Nut Butters

Why take the time to make your own nut butter? Commercial nut butters often contain hydrogenated oils, added sugars/salt, and additives needed to enhance shelf-life and act as emulsifiers/stabilizers.  With the aid of a food processor, making your own nut butters is a quick and easy task.  When making your own nut butter at home, you have more control in regards to the ingredients (example: amount of added sugar/salt/oil, choice of flavorings, addition of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, etc.) and the source of nut (example: country of origin, organic nuts vs. non-organic nuts, single type or multiple types of nuts, etc.).

4 Easy Steps to Make Your Nut Butters

  1. Go Nuts!Select Your Nut: If you can locate them at your grocery store or food retailer, try using shelled green or raw nuts and roasting them for optimal flavor. Another way to experiment with flavors is to try making nut butters with one variety or a blend of nuts.  Because cashews are more expensive per pound, I love making peanut-cashew butter!
  2. The Toast: By toasting nuts in the oven, their natural, often buttery flavors are more enhanced. To toast, spread nuts evenly on an unlined baking sheet.  Roast on 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes.  Stir nuts halfway through cooking to ensure even baking.  Alternatively, you can toast your nuts on your stovetop.  To do so, pour nuts into skillet and place on stove.  Heat skillet over medium heat.  Spread nuts into single layer.  Toss nuts to make sure they are toasted and fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Blend It Up: Using a food processor, blend your choice of toasted nuts and oil together! I recommend using canola oil since it is cost-effective, mild flavored, and helps give nut butters a desired smooth, shiny consistency.  How long you blend your nut butter for will depend on your texture preferences. Less blending will produce a chunkier nut butter, but more blending will give you a smoother, creamier nut butter.
  4. Nuts About Flavors: Got a sweet tooth? Need just a pinch of salt? Craving a spicy kick? You decide what and how much spices, dried herbs, natural extracts, added sugar, and/or salt to add to your nut butters.


  • 2 cups peanuts, unsalted, dry-roasted
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½-¾ cup powdered sugar*
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

*Note: I like to use ½ cup of powdered sugar in this recipe for my family.  However, feel free to adjust based on taste preferences.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread peanuts in an even layer on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Roast peanuts about 5 minutes, stirring them halfway to toast evenly.  Pulse peanuts in a food processor until they create a paste. Scrape down the sides on the food processor.  Continue to pulse until peanuts reach desired creamy consistency.  Add cocoa, sugar, salt, and oil.  Process until well blended.  Stir down the sides on food processor again, if needed.

Honey Cashew-Peanut Butter

  • 2/3 cup cashews, unsalted, dry-roasted
  • 1/3 cup peanuts, unsalted, dry-roasted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of chipotle chile pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread cashews in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Roast cashews for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time to toast evenly.  Once cooled, process cashews in food processor until ground.  Add honey and spices.  Continue to pulse till mixed.  Scrape down sides on food processor, if needed.  Add melted coconut oil and process until desired consistency is reached.

Do you make your own nut butters?  Share your favorite recipe in the comments below.  For more information on how to include more nuts in your diet, check out our blog post on 5 Tasty Ways to Get Your Daily Dose of Nuts.

Mary WhiteMary White, MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian residing in Travelers Rest, SC.  She is currently a program guide at Children’s Museum of the Upstate.  Mary studied Food Science at Clemson University and proceeded to complete her dietetic internship at Texas A&M-Kingsville University.  Passionate about cooking and children’s programming, she loves working with kids and designing nutrition education programs integrating play and active learning strategies. In her spare time, Mary enjoys yoga, cooking, kayaking, and cuddling with her dog, Maggie.

10 Ways Dietitians Can Get Involved in Policy and Advocacy (Infographic)

As a dietitian, have you ever wondered how you can get more involved in policy and advocacy to support important nutrition and health issues?  Check out this list of practical ways that you can take meaningful action on those matters on the local, state, and national levels!

10 Ways Dietitians Can Get Involved in Policy and Advocacy

10 Ways Dietitians Can Get Involved in Policy and Advocacy [Infographic]

  1.  Read!

    • Examples: read the news; sign up for newsletters with relevant organizations
    • Pros: be informed about issues that could affect you, your business and your clients
  2. Write!

  3. Speak!

    • Examples: participate in action alerts; share on social media; tell your friends!
    • Pros: help raise awareness and build support for issues that matter to you and the profession
  4. Volunteer with an existing program in your community (local)

    • Examples: food bank, food pantry, or soup kitchen; farmer’s market SNAP program; gleaning program; schools; civic organizations
    • Pros: learn about what’s happening at the local level; network; help others
  5. Start a new program in your community (local)

    • Examples: community garden or school garden; gleaning program; grocery store tours; cooking classes
    • Pros: create greater access to and knowledge of food and nutrition; build leadership skills; increase access to healthy foods
  6. Join a board or political organization (local, state)

    • Examples: school board; government board or committee (i.e. board of public health); non-profit; neighborhood association; health or nutrition coalition
    • Pros: Networking; professional development
  7. Get Involved (local, state, national)

    • Examples: attend a town meeting, public hearing, or advocacy day; volunteer on a campaign; provide expert commentary or testimony
    • Pros: Learn about important issues that affect you, your business and your clients; learn about the political system and how you can make an impact
  8. Meet your officials (local, state, national)

    • Examples: schedule a visit with your local, state or federal legislators; host a site visit for government officials; offer to assist with researching or drafting policy
    • Pros: Increase awareness of and advocate for the profession and your role or business
  9. Start a movement (local, state, national)

    • Examples: start a petition; organize for a cause
    • Pros: advocate for issues you care about; build leadership skills
  10. Be the Change (local, state, national)

    • Examples: run for a government office or position; propose a new policy (see for model policies); offer to serve as an expert for your local government on nutrition-related issues
    • Pros: professional development; make a direct impact

Ready to take action now?  Go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy: Action Center at and take action on the legislative alerts with just a few simple clicks! Watch and share our video below to help others learn how to get more involved in policy and advocacy, too! We’d love to hear how you are or how you plan to get involved in policy and advocacy, so please leave us a comment below!

Thank you, Christine Benson – DIFM Policy Advocacy Committee Member, for creating this helpful list!

Chris BensonChristine Benson completed her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from California State University Los Angeles in 2015. She is currently a graduate student and dietetic intern at the University of Washington completing a Masters in Public Health Nutrition. Christine is also working with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on topics including the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the School Food Modernization Act and Healthy People 2030.

Featured DIFM Member: Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CDN, CLC

We are so excited to launch our monthly Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Nutrition Featured Member series.  Our featured member for July is Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CDN, CLC.  Kendra is a registered dietitian, certified aromatherapist, and certified lactation counselor specializing in women’s health. Her website, Live Fertile, is packed with fertility, pregnancy, and women’s health and wellness information. She currently lives in Alexandria, VA where she can usually be found taking a yoga or belly dance class.

How would you best describe what you do in a nutshell, including how you incorporate integrative and functional nutrition into your work?

I meet with women virtually to improve their reproductive health. We focus on blood sugar balance, eating healthy fats (so important for our hormones), and getting in those shortfall nutrients.

I also write about women’s health, nutrition and aromatherapy for my own blog and other sites.

So often, I think folks believe integrative and functional nutrition is all about using using herbs and supplements. While they certainly have a place, a high quality anti-inflammatory eating pattern, simple stress management techniques, good sleep hygiene, and enjoyable movement are the true foundation of integrative nutrition and medicine. And that’s what I focus on with clients and in my writing. 

What do you love most about integrative and functional nutrition?

I love that integrative and functional nutrition empowers people to take good care of themselves... Click To TweetI love that integrative and functional nutrition empowers people to take good care of themselves and gets to the root of health concerns. Integrative practitioners equip clients with information and tools they can use for the rest of their lives to not just manage symptoms, but to actually achieve optimal health.

Where have you completed most of your training in integrative and functional nutrition?

Most of my training has come from self study (PubMed and books are my best friends), continuing ed through DIFM and Dietitian Central, Susan Allen’s Foundation course, The Herbal Academy’s Herbalism courses, The Integrative Women’s Health Institute, and The New York Institute of Aromatherapy.

What advice would you give anyone interested in learning more about integrative and functional nutrition?

Join DIFM. Seriously, it’s the best place to start. The listserv gives you access to some of the best and brightest in the field who are happy to answer your questions and share resources. And the webinars and newsletters are full of valuable information.

I would also say, don’t be afraid to venture outside of the RD world for training. Yes, you still want to make sure what you’re learning is evidence based, but some of the best teachers I’ve ever had were herbalists, aromatherapists, functional physical therapists, and MDs who really know their stuff.

Thank you for sharing your insights and inspiration with us, Kendra!  

Are you ready to join DIFM?  Learn more here.  Would you like to explore educational opportunities in integrative and functional nutrition?  Check out our free Functional Nutrition Tool Kit.