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Journal / Special series
Tea Talk with Robyn Youkilis
For our Summer Hideaway at Blackberry Farm, we were joined by one of our favorite wellness experts — holistic digestive health specialist Robyn Youkilis.
As an AADP Certified Health Coach, author, speaker, and founder of her own global health coaching practice, Your Healthiest You, Robyn is our go-to expert for gut health and nutrition. Not to mention, she makes the best sauerkraut we’ve ever tried!
We were so inspired during our time with Robyn, so we’re extra excited to share with you how she balances her busy work schedule, motherhood, and everyday rituals to curate a beautiful, well-rounded lifestyle. Instead of our usual Behind the Bathroom series, we switched things up and joined Robyn for tea in Blackberry Farm’s beautiful garden!
Q&A With Robyn Youkilis
Q: Hi Robyn! Tell us — what’s your hyphenated title?
A: Mom - Health Coach - TV Host - Bestselling Author
Q: What is the one little thing that you do for yourself that makes you feel good everyday?
A: I always take a moment to check in with my intuition and ask “what do I need right now/today/this week”? I also prioritize getting my body moving — whether that’s taking a sweaty spin class, walking across the Williamsburg Bridge with ankle weights (for a little extra oomph!) or having a dance party with my daughter Navy in the living room.
Q: What is a key part of your daily wellness ritual (either morning or night)?
A: Here’s what I do most days: When I wake up, I place one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly and take a few deep breaths. I say some version of the following to myself (think Goodnight Moon, but the morning self-care edition):
“Hi, I’m awake. How lovely is that? Good morning body, good morning heart. I’ve got you. I’m here, this is me. These are my arms, this is my skin, this is my chest, this is my face. I’ve got you.”
This moment of calm is what I call my Morning Minute. It’s time for me to connect with my mind and my body, and to get my feet grounded underneath me before the day gets ahead of me.
Q: How much time do you spend in the bathroom getting ready in the morning versus at night?
A: My routine is quick in the morning and longer at night. I only spend about 5 minutes in the morning — I have a three and a half year old so I’m always tending to things at the start of the day. I start by washing my face with the Clarifying Cleanser and then mist on the Hydrating Floral Essence. Post workout, I’ll cleanse again with the Regenerating Cleanser and apply the Hyaluronic Gel Moisturiser (which is especially lovely since it’s been a hot summer).
I spend about 10 minutes at night — I use the ritual to take time for myself and wind down. I start with a double cleanse, then apply Illuminating Eye Cream, Boosted Contouring Serum, Clarifying Moisturizer, and the Clarifying Spot Treatment if I need it.
Q: Would you say you are a beauty minimalist or maximalist?
A: On the daily, I am a minimalist… but I love getting dressed up for a night out or a big event.
Q: Go With Your Gut was your first book — what does going with your gut mean to you?
A: Going with your gut is about knowing what makes you feel good right now. It’s about identifying your hell yes’s and your no thank you’s. It’s about continually checking in and knowing when you can say, “I’ll have what she’s having” and when you can affirm, “This is what I need today.” By tuning into your gut all day, every day, you’ll become clearer and clearer on what you want in your life and how to soar from that place of intuition.
Q: How does our gut health affect our skin?
A: Gut health affects everything! If you’re intolerant to foods but continue eating them, they’re likely to cause inflammation which can show up on your skin — whether in the form of rosacea, acne, or other disorders. Both the skin and the gut have a microbiome, and they talk to each other! Keeping your gut microbiome happy and balanced helps keep your skin that way, too.
Q: Which foods are best for gut health?
A: I love fermented foods for gut health — they’re a great source of probiotics! Probiotics encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, and even increase the concentration of important nutrients. Sauerkraut (the refrigerated kind), kimchee, and my pretty pink radishes (recipe below) are all great fermented options! Yogurt and chia seeds are also favorites of mine.
Q: How have you introduced beauty and self-care to your daughter Navy?
A: When Navy plays with my products and make-up, she will say things like “Now I’m beautiful, Mommy”. It’s important for me to teach her that she’s beautiful all the time — make-up and dresses are fun to play with but they are not what make you beautiful.
I also always inform her of how I’m taking care of myself — I am going to get a massage, I’m working out, I’m getting acupuncture. I hope that by sharing these moments with her, I am teaching her it’s as valuable to do things that take care of yourself as it is to go to work.
Q: How do you do it all?
A: I don’t do it all — I have a lot of help! I’m very honest about that. I have a supportive husband, we have people who help in our home, and I have a team. I’ve learned to lean in and ask for help and be clear about what I need in the moment so I can do the things that are most important to me.
My work is full-on, my travel is full-on, my workouts are non-negotiable. I know what I want my life to look like and I recognize that these things make me who I want to be. At the same time, I regularly check in with my intuition to see if what I really need is a spin class or a nap, and I do my best to honor all of it.
Everyone’s “do it all” looks different and it’s important not to compare mine (or anyone else’s) with your own.
Recipes For Gut Health
Robyn has written two bestselling books, Go With Your Gut and Thin From Within. Each contain some of her delicious recipes for healthy-gut foods that you can easily whip up at home. Below, she shared two of her favorite go-to recipes for great gut health.
The Power Parfait, like a smoothie, is a perfect vehicle for superfoods. Feel free to switch up your toppings each day, but the basic formula remains the same.
¾ cup yogurt
¼ cup plain oats
1 teaspoon chia seeds
Small scoop of protein powder (check out my faves here!)
Splash or two of homemade nut milk or water
¾ cup fresh berries or other chopped fruit
¼ cup low-sugar granola
Mix the first 5 ingredients together, and then top with fruit and granola. Eat immediately, or save in the fridge for later! Notes on ingredients:
Grain-free? Use a combination of unsweetened shredded coconut and slivered almonds in place of the oats and granola (or use a grain-free granola).
Yogurt: Goat’s milk is my favorite, but you can also use organic cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or plain coconut milk or nut-based milk yogurt.
Oats: Oats are rich in prebiotic fiber and make this bowl so much more satisfying than your average yogurt cup. You can skip this add-in if you’re paleo or grain-free.
Chia: Chia seeds are rich in fiber and help clean out your digestive tract. Chia seeds are also full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight internal inflammation and fuel your brain to produce more feel-good hormones like serotonin.
PRETTY IN PINK FERMENTED RADISHES
3 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
¾ cup fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Kale, cabbage, or collard leaf
Combine the radishes, peppercorns, dill, and salt in a large bowl. Squish by hand until the radishes have released their liquid. Transfer the radish mixture to a 12-ounce mason jar and press down so the liquid covers the radishes. If it does not cover the radishes, add filtered water as needed. Place the kale leaf over the radishes so they stay submerged. Seal loosely and set aside in a cool, dark place to ferment. “Burp” the radishes once a day for the first 3 days.
Ferment the radishes for 1 to 3 weeks. Begin tasting after 1 week. When they are fermented to your liking, move them to the fridge. They will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Note: You’ll want to use a fresh, clean fork every time you scoop radishes from this jar. This keeps the unique bacteria in your mouth from mixing and multiplying in your jar.