CoreLife Blog

Making Fermented Foods a Staple

We’ve talked in previous posts about the benefits of supporting healthy, happy gut flora. One of the key ways to do that is through adding fermented foods into your daily diet. Fermented foods are foods that are produced in such a way that they actually culture live bacterial and fungal strains that are good for your health. A prime example is yogurt. Other less “popular” ones include kimchi, kombucha, kefir, miso, and properly fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. These days, a lot of traditionally fermented foods are made through short cuts, producing a similar tasting end product, but none of the beneficial probiotic strains. When looking for fermented foods, make sure things like pickles and pickled veggies state that they are actually fermented. Another good clue is where you find them in the store; fermented foods almost always require refrigeration, so if you’re getting it some where other than the refrigerator at your grocery store, chances are it’s not truly fermented.

Ok, so now you have your awesome selection of fermented foods…how to incorporate them? Here are 5 ideas to help make cultured foods and beverages a regular part of your daily routine.

1) Kimchi and Scrambled Eggs – add a heaping tbsp of kimchi (drained well) to the pan as you make your scrambled eggs. Sprinkle on a bit of cheddar cheese. This combo is DELICIOUS! You get health fats and protein, plus probiotic benefits and even some veggies all in one tasty dish.

2) Kefir Smoothie – Smoothies are an amazing way to pack in a lot of nutrition, even on the go. Instead of relying on milk, water, or juice for your liquid in your smoothie, try adding kefir. Now on top of the great fiber benefits of your smoothie, you also have some probiotics and great protein.

3) Salad toppers – Picked veggies are great on top of salads. In place of your typical dressing, try adding some various heaping tablespoons of picked veggies and then a drizzle of olive oil. The pickled veggies add a great vinegar-like aspect to the salad, but add their probiotic goodness.

4) Pizza, because what doesn’t work there? I adore sauerkraut or kimchi on my pizza! Make your pizza as you typically would and then top with kimchi or sauerkraut right before serving. This added bite from these fermented foods can really enhance your pizza, in a similar way that banana peppers might, but with way more health benefits!

5) Kombucha pick me up – instead of reaching for coffee or a sugary treat when you’re feeling a bit low energy, try adding in a fermented beverage instead. Kombucha comes in a variety of flavors, so there’s almost certainly a flavor or brand that will fit your personal tastes. If, however, you’re struggling to get behind the kombucha bandwagon, try Kefir water instead, which tends to have a lighter, more approachable flavor profile, while still packing fantastic fermented friends.

Once you start incorporating these great flavor and health boosters, you’ll find all sorts of wonderful ways to use them. Start making probiotic foods part of your diet today.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN

CoreLife is Coming to Delmarva


We can hardly believe it was 2012 when CoreLife opened the doors to its first location in Severna Park. Six years and eight locations later, we have grown by leaps and bounds. We’re amazed at how far we’ve come in such a short span of time – the number of people we have helped, the relationships we’ve built, and the communities we’ve become part of. Now, we’re excited to share CoreLife with more people across Maryland and throughout the East Coast.

Throughout this summer, CoreLife is opening in locations throughout the Delmarva Peninsula (DELaware, MARyland, VirginiA, get it?) in conjunction with Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC). As the region’s primary medical center, this partnership will allow us to root ourselves within the community and impact as many lives as possible. We will be replacing their existing weight loss program, combining our resources and making CoreLife and weight loss health care as accessible as possible to the people of Delmarva.

The Delmarva peninsula has a rich history going all the way back to the last Ice Age when it was inhabited by the Amerindians native to the area. Then, during the 17th century, it was the subject of a tug of war between William Penn (of Pennsylvania) and Lord Baltimore (of Maryland).  More recently, however, it is known for an abundance of fisheries and agriculture (did you know there is even a rare breed of chicken known as the Delaware?), wildlife, and beautiful beaches. We are looking forward to becoming part of the fabric of this vibrant community.

We look forward to opening our doors in Salisbury this June, with more locations soon to follow throughout the region. Each location will be staffed with medical professionals, registered dietitians, and of course, our signature private studio with exercise equipment, dedicated trainers, classes, and more. For updates on our progress, location openings, and more, keep checking back here, or follow us on social media. We look forward to seeing you on the Shore!

Read our official press release here:

Breakfast on the Go

Mornings are often hectic. Finding a way to fit in a healthy breakfast, or even more likely, grab one to go, can be nearly impossible. I wanted to give you some ideas for some quick, healthy breakfast recipes that you can eat on the way to work or enjoy with a cup of coffee at the table, whichever time allows.

1) Avocado toast. Choose whole grain or sprouted grain bread. Mash 1/3 – 1/2 of a ripe avocado on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy with a napkin in hand or while watching the news in your kitchen. For added protein, top with an egg.

2) Hard-boiled egg with berries. You can make a half dozen or more hard-boiled eggs on the weekend, then grab and go for breakfast or add to a salad for protein at lunch. For an even simpler grab and go fruit, try an apple, banana, or orange.

3) Overnight oats. Soak oats overnight with chia seeds, banana, and nut butter. Scoop out into desired portions and grab on your way out the door. You can add additional toppings, if desired, or even heat it up to eat as a more traditional oatmeal with a quick burst in the microwave.

4) Smoothies. I’ve written about smoothies before; they’re a fantastic way to get in a LOT of nutrition in a very small container. Be sure to add veggies to your smoothie and use milk, yogurt, or water, not juice. Frozen cauliflower, frozen butternut squash, and spinach are all great and easy additions to smoothies without affecting the taste. Bananas and dates are great options to sweeten. Avocado, full-fat dairy, chia seeds, and nut butters are all great sources of fat, while hemp seeds and collagen peptides are easy protein additions. Blend it up and sip on your commute.

5) Nuts and Fruit. And if you’re REALLY pressed on time, grab a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit. Protein and fat from the nuts, some fiber and carbs from the fruit. In any case, it’s better than nothing and definitely better than a doughnut!

For more simple ways to work improved nutrition into your day and life, come by CoreLife.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN

Give your Coffee a Boost


Unless you have an actual sensitivity to coffee/caffeine, like it triggers your heart burn or causes other indigestion, etc., I’m not one to say you have to cut all coffee. However, I will say that you should keep it to no more than 2 cups a day and avoid all that Frappa, whip, double shot of pure sugar gunk! I wanted to actually give you a few ideas to “super power” your daily java so that you’re getting some actual nutritional benefits in your cup too. I’m personally a latte drinker, which means I get some protein (and healthy fat, since I use grass fed whole milk in mine) from the milk, but these other ideas apply to black coffee and lattes alike. So next time you’re reaching for your coffee fix, try some of these tricks to make it a pretty nutritious cup!

1) Collagen Hydrosylate – purchased as a powder, this is a pretty much tasteless addition that blends in smoothly to liquids, especially hot ones. It provides a really nice protein boost, as well as gut-healing benefits and support. Look for ones that are sources from grass-fed animals like Great Lakes and Vital Proteins. I like to keep a little container of it in my purse so I can add some even when I’m getting my coffee hit away from home.

2) Liquid Stevia – while I’ve definitely come to appreciate the flavor of straight coffee or espresso more over time, I still require a bit of sweetness in my cup. Instead of reaching for sugar, artificial sweeteners, or those pumps of flavored liquid sugar syrups, try some flavored liquid stevia. A few drops go a LONG way, stevia doesn’t have any grams of sugar, is all natural, and super easy to keep with you and add to your drinks. I’m a huge fan of Sweet Leaf (they’re hazelnut and pumpkin spice flavors are so good!).

3) Prebiotics – many prebiotic powders come in a powder contained in a capsule. You can easily open these capsules and add one or two to your cup of joe. Now you get a great prebiotic, happy fiber dose for the day and your coffee all in one. BIOHM’s prebiotic is one of my favorite and shown to increase beneficial, anti-inflammatory strains like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.

4) Adaptogens – I hope to talk more about these in an upcoming post soon, but adaptogens are specific herbs found to support adrenal health and stress management in the body. For most of us, this is something we could definitely use! I add some of my adaptogen powder from Moon Juice to may latte nearly every day

Ready to power up your coffee and make it really work for you? For more ways to super charge the foods and drinks you’re already loving, come visit CoreLife today!

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN

Weight Loss and Your Gut

More and more research is being done on the gut microbiome, the community of bacteria and fungi found in your digestive tract. These microbes out number our human cells 10 to 1 and can contribute up to 5 lbs of one’s overall weight. These little organisms partake in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, neurotransmitter production, and more. In fact, recent research suggests differences in the microbiome of lean individuals compared to their overweight peers.

Two of the major bacterial phyla in the human gut are Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. In the healthy human gut, Bacteroidetes should make up the majority of the gut bacterial community. However, in a number of studies, those who are overweight show a higher proportion of Firmicutes in their gut. Firmicutes has been shown to increase energy absorption, which means that if Suzy has more Bacteroidetes and Stan has more Firmicutes, if they both eat the same meal, Suzy will absorb LESS calories from that meal than Stan. In other words, this creates a pretty vicious cycle! Over-eating/excess energy intake encourage Firmicutes growth; Firmicutes increases calorie absorption, leading to further weight gain, and the cycle continues!

So, what can you do? To optimize your gut health, one of the most important things you can do for an immediate response is to eat more fiber from plant foods throughout your day. A good goal would be to eat 9 servings or cups every day of a variety of whole fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. This can be a challenge since most of us eat maybe a third of this, but you will see the benefits right away. The fiber in these foods feed “good” gut flora and for some people, a change can be seen within 24 hours. Over the long-term, the nutrient density and fiber in these foods will be a significant factor to help your body decrease inflammation, increase Bacteroidetes, and reduce Firmicutes.  Additionally, regular, consistent exercise has been found to support proper gut balance. While formal exercise (examples: walking, cardio classes, weight training) is a great choice, other increases in your daily activity level (examples: gardening, taking the stairs at work) can make a positive impact.

Finally, remove any artificially sweetened foods and beverages from your diet. Look for these words on the food label and always avoid the foods or beverages that contain:    Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame Potassium or K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe), and Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin). If you’ve been relying on artificial sweeteners, please work to remove them from your diet and instead opt for whole fruits when you’re craving sweetness. While sugar is definitely something to reduce and avoid in your diet, artificial sweeteners have been shown to radically disrupt the microbiome and increase phyla related to inflammation.

You are what you eat, and what you eat, is what your gut bacteria and fungi consume! So do yourself a favor, and feed them well.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN