InstantPot Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

I finally did it.

I bought an InstantPot. Because #Costco. I went in for tuna, avocados, and sparkling water and I was done for when I saw the newest InstantPot model and Costco exclusive, Nova Plus. It's been on my wishlist for over a year so I finally did it!

And yes, I'm obsessed and wondering what I ever did without it. 

I was nervous about the learning curve but with lots (and lots!) of Googling, I figured it out and made this incredible teriyaki chicken! It was perfectly sticky, richly flavored, and flawlessly cooked. Even better, it came together pretty darn quickly considering this recipe used to take me 5 hours of slow cooking and approximately 7,384 dishes.

Now that I can cook this in less than 30 minutes, it will definitely be a meal plan staple!

This teriyaki chicken uses coconut aminos in place of soy sauce for a healthier option. You can find coconut aminos in the asian-section of most grocery stores or at Trader Joe's or online at Thrive Market. I use the Big Tree Farms brand at Costco (again, I love Costco) because it saves me SO much money. This recipe also uses a tablespoon of honey but if you're doing Whole30, you can easily omit it with no problem.

So let's stop gabbing about my love affair with Costco and get to the recipe!

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InstantPot Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

3/4 c coconut aminos
3 T rice vinegar
1 T honey, omit for Whole30
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp dried, ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1.5-2 lb chicken breasts, trimmed
1 T water
1 T arrowroot starch, can sub tapioca starch if needed

In small bowl, whisk coconut aminos, vinegar, honey (if using), garlic, fish sauce, and seasonings. Place chicken in the InstantPot and pour teriyaki sauce over, stirring to evenly coat the chicken. Close and secure the lid, ensure vent is set to "sealing", and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release pressure then remove chicken and shred. In small bowl or cup, whisk water and arrowroot starch until a slurry is made. Set InstantPot to "saute" and pour in slurry then heat until thick, stirring often. Add shredded chicken back into the thickened sauce and stir to coat. Serve with cauliflower rice and broccoli.

If you make this in your kitchen, please share with me by tagging me on social media (@_lemonandfig on IG!) or sending me a message! Happy InstantPotting!



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Wild Salmon Salad + Creamy Avocado Basil Dressing

As kids head back to school and routines begin again, it feels like summer is slipping away slowly. I'm hanging onto what's left so that means pool days, late-night patio chats, and fresh summer salads. 


Artwork + Illustration by Janelle Wilke

This salmon salad is one of my favorites! Its fully of essential omega-3 fats, rich flavors, and a fresh dressing. Wild caught salmon is full of vitamin B12 and B3, fat-soluble Vitamin D, selenium, and protein. It's worth the extra money for that deeper color and a balanced fatty acid ratio.

Our bodies need both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids but the American diet is usually really low on omega-3 and really high on omega-6 fatty acids that are damaged, oxidized, and highly processed (ahem, bleached and deodorized!) such as hydrogenated oils and industrial seeds oils like canola and vegetables. When we have too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, inflammation can wreak havoc.

So where do you buy wild caught salmon? If you're on the coast, fresh fish markets should carry it. If you're like me and landlocked, I buy wild caught salmon from Costco! They come in individual serving packs which makes lunch a total breeze! Add it to your eggs, serve it with cauliflower rice and seaweed salad, or put it on your salad like I do!

Here's how I make my salmon salad!



Whenever I cook salmon, I use Diane Sanfilippo's 6-Minute Salmon Method! It's perfectly flaky and so easy. While it's broiling, assemble two handfuls of spring mix greens, 1/2 sliced cucumber, a small handful of sliced red onions, and slivered almonds. Place salmon on top of greens and pour on creamy avocado basil dressing

Creamy Avocado Basil Dressing:
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 small avocado
1 handful of basil leaves, destemmed
2-3 cloves of garlic (1 is never enough!)
1 tsp lemon juice
salt + pepper to taste

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you need, add filtered water until it can easily be poured.

Enjoy! As always, if you make this, tag me on Instagram (@_lemoandfig) so I can fangirl over your creation!


Garlic Chicken with Tomato Basil Sauce

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! This is a family favorite that comes together so quickly (like under 30 minutes!). It's also paleo, dairy-free, and Whole30 compliant. I serve it alongside organic mixed greens a simple homemade balsamic dressing. It also pairs really well with a good white wine for an at-home date night or add it on top of gluten-free pasta for a kid-friendly dish! Seriously, this recipe is so simple and delicious!


Garlic Chicken with Tomato Basil Sauce

2 T ghee or grass-fed butter
1 T minced garlic
sea salt + pepper
3-4 chicken breasts, trimmed
1 can of organic diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can of full-fat coconut cream
3 tsp dried italian blend seasoning (I love this one)
1 handful of basil

In large skillet, heat ghee and garlic on medium heat until fragrant. Season trimmed chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper to taste then place in skillet, flipping every few minutes until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same skillet, whisk tomatoes, coconut cream, and italian seasonings then place chicken back in and turn stovetop to low, simmering for 5 minutes. While chicken is simmering, ribbon-slice the basil (here's how) and then place on top of the chicken until softened. Serve chicken with an extra spoonful of sauce and enjoy!

As always, if you make this recipe, show me on Instagram! Tag me or send me a DM so I can see this recipe come to life in your kitchen!



How I (Naturally) Helped My Anxiety

I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it looked like insecurity, sometimes it looked like anxiety attacks, other times it looked normal and healthy on the outside while on the inside, I was in survival mode. It was eventually so bad that my doctor started rotating me through antidepressants, finally landing on a nearly five year stint of Lexapro. 

Unfortunately, I didn't improve. I personally believe that western medicine is beneficial for many and that there is no shame in medication. However, I think there's even more value in accessing the root cause and healing that rather than a band aid fix. I found that my medication (and subsequent prescriptions for the side effects) didn't help and often times just made it worse. With that frustration in mind, I sought out different answers for myself and I found them through real, whole nutrient dense foods.


I did a Whole30, determined my anxiety trigger foods (um, helloooo gluten!) then built a healthy lifestyle that supported cognitive function (I LOVE this book about that!), balanced blood sugar, and lots of nutrients. This was magic for me, but here are five MORE ways I ditched the anxiety for good:


1. I cut out coffee

I've talked about this quite a bit on my Instagram but one of the biggest and easiest wins for me was eliminating coffee and other forms of strong caffeine. This comes down to how your body responds to stress. While you may think that your morning (and afternoon) cup of coffee is giving you a jolt of energy, what's actually happening is a jolt of adrenaline (aka fight or flight). Your body's natural mechanisms for survival are kicking in and for those with anxiety, you're already doing that all. the. time and the long-term affects of this is no walk in the park. When you eliminate caffeine, you can see what you're actually working with and you might find that your body will naturally feel less internal stress without the external substance making it worse.

Action Step: Eliminate coffee for 21 days then reintroduce one cup of strong, cold brew coffee and journal how you feel after. Options for warm, cozy drinks could be decaf coffee (I love Kicking Horse!), Dandy Blend, or herbal tea.

2I lowered my sugar intake

When we consume sugar, our body releases "snow plows" (insulin) to shuffle it where it needs to go for energy. This is normal and a built-in safeguard by your body. Things go awry when we spike our blood sugar really high by consuming excess sugar because what goes up, must come down and it comes down hard. We instantly gravitate towards quick burning fuel which is glucose (aka sugar) but often spike it too high again. This is what we call the "blood sugar roller coaster" and your trusty hormone, insulin is along for the ride. When one hormone is tugged on, the entire web of other hormones feel it too and just like with coffee, cortisol (your fight-or-flight hormone) becomes unregulated meaning you're feeling added stress, hanger, and fatigue.

Action Step: Be mindful of how much added sugars you consume and keep high protein, high fat snacks on hand instead of fruit smoothies, cereal, or cookies.

3. I slept (a lot) more

When you're not getting adequate sleep, your sugar cravings go up, your body stores more fat, inflammation increases, and stress skyrockets (again, #hormones). It's easy for people to boast how little sleep they can get each night but your body can't withstand that for too long without crashing and crashing hard. Aim to get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. 

Action Step: Identify the activities you do first thing in the morning or after work in the evening and eliminate one hour per day (like Netflix), allotting that to sleep instead. If you can only do that 3-4 days per week, start with that!

4. I take CBD oil

No, CBD oil doesn't mean you're smoking pot in your mom's basement. CBD is less than .3% THC (what gets you high) and isn't psychoactive meaning you won't have any of the psychological effects of marijuana. CBD, or hemp extract, works with your  Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to keep your body in balance. The National Institue of Drug Abuse found that CBD oil helps with anxiety and the symptoms of anxiety such as increased heart rate and insomnia. I personally opt for CW Hemp and take about two droppers before bed or when I feel acute anxiety. You can check out my Instagram highlight "CBD Oil" for commonly asked questions.

Action Step: Research CBD oil and see if it's an option that's right for you.

5. Talk it out

Not all forms of anxiety can be solved with diet and lifestyle changes. Some require medical intervention and others involve emotional intervention. Your mileage may vary, but vocalizing the scary things that go on in your head is a great way to shine light in the darkness. This can be as simple as telling your spouse "I'm feeling anxiety over ____________ and I could really use ____________". This could also look like hiring a life coach or going to a therapist. Situational anxiety can feel heavy in our bodies so "draining the poison" is often a great way to end the echo chamber of our own heads.

Action Step: Start small and make a list of things that would be helpful in the hight of anxiety; things like a good movie, a heavy blanket, going on a walk, or having a good cry sesh. Then when you're feeling anxious, ask a close friend or family member to help you with an item on that list. 

I get it. Anxiety is tough but there are ways to ease the burden and get to the root cause

What's worked for you? What hasn't worked? Join the conversation on Instagram!



P.S. Here are some helpful resources for you!
Healing Anxiety with Functional Medicine
The Top 5 Reasons Whole30 Improves Depression + Anxiety
Find a Therapist
Holly Higgins, NTP - Mental Health Nutrition Program

3 Lessons in Saying No

When I first started my business, I would say yes to everything in hopes that one of those things would be my "big break". Do you want to collaborate on this? Sure! Do you want to speak at my function even though I won't pay you? Sure! Do you want to offer a free session? Why not! Does that sound exhausting? It was. 

When I said yes to everything, both personally and professionally, I quickly became over-committed, tired, and resentful of living to take care of everyone else. My life wasn't fulfilling so I made some painful cutbacks to get back to living my very best. When I did that, I learned three major lessons on why saying "NO" isn't scary or mean, but rather freeing and kind.

Here's what I learned and how you can apply it in your own life:

Lesson 1:
Saying NO to the small things will allow
you to say YES to the big things

If your schedule is full of things you don't really want to do but feel obligated to do, you no longer have time, money, energy, or space for big opportunities of things you actually want to do. 

In the case of budgeting, maybe you spend $10 here, $10 there on things you bought on a whim, but don't actually need, then you're suddenly not able to afford those concert tickets with friends or the trip of a lifetime. 

Do you remember how I talked about how I was searching for my "big break"? What if I filled my schedule with small commitments, mundane obligations, and "quick" favors, and then my schedule was too full to attend a conference that would have done more for my business than all of those other things combined?

When we say NO to the small things, we open up our schedule, time, and finances to saying YES to the big, fun, important, life-giving things.

Lesson 2:
Saying NO doesn't have to create conflict

I had coffee with a woman a couple months ago and told her how I often feel like I'm too much; that speaking my truth made others uncomfortable. She reminded me of something I tell myself all the time, but often forget: 

As long as I share my truth honestly and gracefully, what other people feel is not my concern.

So how do we do this? How do we say no to business opportunities, friends, family, or work obligations?  You tell them your why.

If you get invited to go out to dinner with friends but you're broke as a joke, simply say "Thanks for inviting me! It's not in the budget this week,  but..." and that "but" is important! This is where you offer a solution in place of your presence. 

"It's not in the budget this week, but I'd love to have you over for coffee next week!"
"I don't have the availability for that right now, but I'm excited for you and would love to support you by sharing your work in my e-mail newsletter!"

I recently got to practice this with a colleague who asked if I would collaborate on a project she's working on. The opportunity sounded amazing and really fun, but I needed to keep my "YES" for another area of my life that needs more focus right now. Here's what my response to her was:

"Unfortunately, I'm going to gracefully pass. I'm working on creating a new sector of my business and it's taking up SO much time and space in my brain that I don't think I could give enough attention to this particular project. I think [your idea] is SO good so I would definitely open that up to [a certain Facebook group] and get a huge library of content."

No + Why + Solution

People value honesty and kindness so combine both, say no graciously, and don't worry about what they may think of you; it's not your concern.

Lesson 3:
Say YES to things that matter

Sometimes things come up that we really do not want to do, even though we should. These are things like helping a friend move, dropping everything to be with your best friend post-heartbreak, driving your grandma to the doctor, or buying lunch for a stranger. While these things aren't the most fun, they serve others in a selfish world. 

The problem comes when we've said YES to too many other things. We then don't have room to serve others with our time, finances, or business because we've already used those resources on less-important things.

When we keep space in our schedule to mentor others, cash in our wallet to help others, and energy in our lives to help others, we have the capacity to make the world better. If we say yes to everything that comes our way, we're draining not only ourselves but also opportunities to love and serve people in ways that matter.

Let's take some action, shall we?

If you find that you need some serious growth in this area, here's a helpful practice to determine where you can cut back and make room for your best "yes".

First, write down a list of everything you are committed to, even if they're things you've committed to yourself like going to the gym or volunteering at church. Then place a star next to the top 5 most draining items. Finally, out of those five items, choose two to cut out of your life.

If you need to take time to think about it or make alternate plans for that commitment, set a time to have that done by (i.e. one week) and put it on your calendar.

When you get everything on paper, you can see an overview of where your time, energy, and resources are going. This will help you say NO so you can say YES to what matters.

I hope this has been helpful for you! This took me a solid year to get down, but I'm so thankful I did it because now my life is filled with my best yes, which is the "big break" I actually needed.

If you'd like more resources on this, I highly recommend picking up Tim Ferriss' "Tribe of Mentors" where the world's most successful business moguls share tips on how they say no.