Favourite Culinary Splurges from Our 2021 Program Coaches

Culinary splurges are unique to all of us, yet it’s fun to peek into someone else’s kitchen to see what ingredients, foods and appliances they love to treat themselves with. 

The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program begins on September 16th and our program coaches live in cities across North America and Africa. We are excited to introduce them to you! Today, they’re sharing their favourite culinary splurges and how they use them. Whether you’re looking for new ingredient inspiration to add to your repertoire or an awesome culinary gift, there are loads of ideas here. 

Our coaches are all honours graduates of our program and support our students through the 14-week guided curriculum, ensuring no one is left behind. If you’re still thinking about joining us, it’s not too late! Registration closes soon, so hop on over here to find out more.

Favourite Culinary Splurges from our 2021 Program Coaches

Sondi Bruner

Sondi BrunerCity: Vancouver, British Columbia
Year Graduated: 2012
Favourite Culinary Splurge: Coconut butter! I typically make nut/seed butters at home, but I simply can’t get homemade coconut butter quite as smooth and creamy as the store-bought versions. I’m always willing to splurge on great dark chocolate, too.
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Digestive health and allergen-friendly cooking. I aim to inspire others to focus on abundance, not deprivation.

Jaclyn Beaty

Jaclyn BeatyCity: Clarksville, Tennessee 
Year Graduated: 2017
Favourite Culinary Splurge: I have a deep appreciation for quality, so while most of my kitchen and pantry seems like a splurge, I spoil myself most on the health-building luxuries that go into our smoothies. I love to add local bee pollen, Great Lakes collagen, vitamin C powder, and spirulina (just to name a few!).
Culinary Nutrition Focus: My culinary nutrition focus is pre- and post-natal nutrition, children and family nutrition, and digestive healing.


Nicole Benson

Nicole BensonCity: Brantford, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2014
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My favourite culinary splurge would have to be fresh potted herbs. I love planting herb gardens outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter. To have fresh basil, parsley, mint, and chives on hand to dice up into a salad, throw in my smoothie, or sprinkle on top of a meal is exciting to me!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Inspiring others to create healthy and delicious meals at home, with a focus on plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free foods.

Melanie Connolly

Melanie ConnollyCity: Quakertown, Pennsylvania 
Year Graduated: 2013
Favourite Culinary Splurge: A spice grinder for grinding nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and a really good paring knife. 
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Anti-inflammatory, gluten-free and dairy-free cooking from scratch.

Lyne Desforges

Lyne DesforgesCity: Oakville, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2016
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My biggest food splurge is wild blueberries. They are handpicked and sold by the side of the road in certain areas of Ontario. A small basket costs a fortune but they are sooooo good. My biggest tool splurge is a Le Creuset Saucepan. Actually, I love any cookware made by Le Creuset. All their products are costly but they are excellent quality and will definitely outlast me! Another favourite I have is their non-stick Crêpe Pan. Perfect for pancakes, crêpes, omelettes, eggs, flatbreads, etc.
Culinary Nutrition Focus: I love to support clients by coming up with therapeutic meal plans or customized recipe books that are in line with their dietary needs and restrictions. Every year, I also run a 2–3 week Sugarless in the Kitchen online program to help our community reduce or eliminate added sugar from their diet. 

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Theresa Diulus 

Theresa's culinary splurgeCity: Seabrook, Texas
Year Graduated: 2014
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My culinary splurge is organic vanilla beans because they lend so much flavor to recipes, and a little goes a long way. Once I’ve scraped the seeds out of the pods for use in a recipe, I take the pods and repurpose them in multiple ways. One way is to make homemade vanilla extract which is a great gift idea and easy to make. Another is flavor salt (adds a unique depth to stews) and sweeteners (great for holiday baking). I also add the pods to cocoas and teas, adding flavor and a fantastic aroma as the mixtures simmer.
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Blood sugar balance. I focus on helping moms with prediabetes learn to plan and prepare delicious meals for their families by teaching them recipes, skills, and tips to save them time and energy and balance their blood sugar.

Caitlin Iles

Caitlin IlesCity: Quispamsis, New Brunswick
Year Graduated: 2012
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My biggest culinary splurge is grass-fed collagen. Though it is a little expensive, I think it is completely worth every penny, especially in the summer when it’s a little warm to be drinking cups of bone broth every day. Collagen is incredibly healing for the digestive tract and helps the body grow strong hair, skin, and nails. The other benefits of this amazing culinary nutrition splurge are too numerous to outline in this blurb, but my clients and I swear by it. I use it every day in a healing elixir like my Halva Hot Chocolate and add it to energy bites, like these Cashew Collagen Cookie Bites
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Female hormone balance, digestive healing, and adrenal support.

Suzy Larsen

fave culinary splurgeCity: Kelowna, British Columbia
Year Graduated: 2016
Favourite Culinary Splurge: Growing up, my mom would occasionally make me and my siblings fudge if we agreed to help. It seemed like this really long process of beating and stirring which to a kid is like cutting into precious playtime – although we did love sharing it with Mom after the hard work. Many years later, I still enjoy fudge from time to time especially when I’m feeling the nostalgic pull of the comforts of childhood. Only now, since my nutrition standards are very high for my family, I choose the fudge recipes that use brain-fueling fats such as these Hazelnut Coconut Fudge Bites. And there’s no stirring involved!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: My focus happens to be the area that I have personally struggled with and overcome: insomnia. Because of this I feel I have specific insight on the food and lifestyle changes a client needs to follow to have an optimum and satisfying sleep. It usually comes down to managing blood sugar levels by eating enough protein, fat and fibre at each meal and snacks to avoid the emotional rollercoaster which may have a hand in preventing us from falling asleep or waking us up during the night.

Shiru Macharia

favourite culinary splurgeCity: Naorobi, Kenya
Year Graduated: 2017
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My culinary splurge definitely has to be fresh whole cardamom spice from the island Zanzibar. It is heavenly – it transforms my baked muffins, smoothies or my morning oats every time I use it! It is worth the wait and higher quality than the stale ground spice we get at the store. 
Culinary Nutrition Focus: My culinary nutrition focus is pre and postpartum nutrition, strength and recovery postpartum, teaching women a balanced lifestyle and helping them break free of diet culture.

Emeline Marrier d’Unienville

fave culinary splurgesCity: Somerset West, South Africa
Year Graduated: 2019
Favourite Culinary Splurge: I had an old, budget pressure cooker for years and recently upgraded to an Instant Pot. Best decision ever! I use it virtually every day to make everything from soups and stews to grains, roasts, steamed vegetables and even the odd dessert. My favourite part is throwing everything into it, leaving it to work its magic and coming back in an hour or two to a whole lot of delicious. I don’t think I could live without it now!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: My focus is on helping busy women to incorporate allergy-friendly, whole-food cooking into their lives for vibrant health, energy and wellness.

Michelle Marshall

culinary splurgesCity: Newmarket, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2018
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My culinary nutrition journey has led me to growing my own organic food. My splurge is seeds. Recently I have been poring over seed catalogues looking at heirloom seeds and discovering old varieties of my favourite vegetables. I am excited at the thought of having a garden full of purple veggies one day. 
Culinary Nutrition Focus: My culinary nutrition focus is growing as much of my own nutrient-dense food as possible, and helping my family to eat more vegetables. Historically, food messaging to people of colour has been that junk food is the good stuff. Changing that narrative with my loved ones is difficult, but small changes like including my children in meal planning, is very important.

Lizette Marx

Lizette MarxCity: Moraga, California
Year Graduated: 2017
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My latest obsession right now is increasing my collection of mortar and pestles. I have a molcajete, a mortar and pestle for making papaya salad and a few other small to large ones in various materials. You’d think I have enough, but I just purchased a beautiful suribachi mortar and pestle. It is a small one, so best for spices and small amounts of aromatics. I am eyeing another suribachi in a larger size now. What I love about this type of mortar and pestle is that it has these grooves etched into the inside of the bowl, making it perfect for grinding whole spices into a powder. It is also just beautiful! 
Culinary Nutrition Focus: I focus on making healthy food worth savoring and teaching my students how to do this for their own clients. Seasonal, organic, unrefined and local foods are abundant with rich and vibrant flavors and when you can harness the power of healing foods in this way, your food will be transformational because it will not only be healthy, it will be unforgettably delicious.

Jessica Pecush

Jessica PecushCity: Calgary, Alberta
Year Graduated: 2015
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My culinary splurge is definitely hot elixir ingredients, as I love building a pantry wherein I can craft a satiating, hot beverage with a variety of fun, health-building and delicious ingredients at my fingertips! My most common ingredient splurges would have to be coconut butter, matcha, medicinal mushrooms and Beekeeper’s Naturals B.Powered Superfood Honey! Mmm!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: I help professional women suffering from the pain and discomfort of bowel issues (including imbalances stemming from autoimmune gut issues) on how to repair their gut, regain their energy and reclaim their personal and professional lives. I support this clientele via a holistic diet and lifestyle approach and from-scratch cooking, of course!

Veronica Jean

Veronica QubrossiCity: Kitchener, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2014
Favourite Culinary Splurge: I love Ceylon cinnamon and fresh vanilla bean! Although a little on the pricey side, the flavour pay-off is absolutely worth it! Both are packed with antioxidants and boast traditional uses ranging from balancing blood sugar to reducing anxiety.
Culinary Nutrition Focus: In private practice, I work with a few different populations, all of which I am (or have been) a part of. My focuses include pre-conception, prenatal, post-natal and pediatric nutrition, hormone balance, autoimmune thyroid conditions, and brain and spinal cord injuries. I also host a networking group of 2,000 for nutrition professionals.

Wendy Rose

Wendy Rose Culinary Nutrition Expert Program CoachCity: Tilbury, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2014
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My culinary splurge is local produce! If I’m not growing it in my own square foot backyard garden then I am sourcing as much produce and local products as possible. I’m grateful to have access to so many local farmers and now more than ever they need our support. 
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Digestion, as that is where I have the most issues with my own health. Brain health, inflammation, children’s nutrition, and allergy-friendly cooking are always on my mind as a parent/caregiver. What you eat matters, and there’s no reason why you can’t eat healthy foods that taste good too!

Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

Michael Tanenbaum

Michael TanenbaumCity: Los Angeles, California
Year Graduated: 2016
Favourite Culinary Splurge: I go crazy at farmers’ markets. My biggest and most enjoyable splurge is buying fruits each week. My kids and I are always on the prowl for new varieties of pluots, exotic South American fruits like the ice cream bean that we discovered in early July, and seasonal gems like cherimoyas. My other favorite splurge is kitchen appliances. I have a Norwalk cold-press machine, which is a heavy, solid-state device that can make everything from flour and nut butter to cold-pressed juice. Last autumn, we juiced 50 pounds of white pomegranates with it!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: I help people create a transformation in their lives by teaching them to make healthier choices about what they eat and how they live. I accomplish this by encouraging people to prepare great-tasting, nutritious homemade meals that are simple to make.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay TaylorCity: Mississauga, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2017
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My favourite culinary nutrition splurge is getting the opportunity to buy produce and other food products directly from farms – there’s something about being surrounded by the farm environment, getting to see exactly where my food comes from, being able to sample it straight from the earth and chat to the person who grew it that feels very indulgent!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: I specialize in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum nutrition.

Melissa Torio

Melissa TorioCity: Toronto, Ontario
Year Graduated: 2016
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My culinary splurge would be a second Instant Pot. We use our Instant Pot so often, that it made sense to get another larger one especially when making large batches of bone broth.
Culinary Nutrition Focus: Fermentation and gut health.


Erin Ysunza

best culinary splurgesCity: Portland, Oregon
Year Graduated: 2019
Favourite Culinary Splurge: My favorite culinary splurge is farm-fresh berries in the summer. I really didn’t think I liked berries until I moved to Oregon and tasted them straight off the plants! Now we’re never without them. A frequent summer weekend activity for my family is berry picking at our many local farms. We pick whole wagons full, then make enough jam to last us a year and freeze extras for smoothies and snacks. Nothing better than a spoonful of summer-fresh strawberry jam in the middle of winter!
Culinary Nutrition Focus: My culinary nutrition focus is making nutrient-rich eating fun and accessible to the whole family!

Registration is closing soon for the 2021 Culinary Nutrition Expert Program. Learn more about how you can join us, explore new career opportunities, hone your cooking and recipe development skills and support your personal health. And maybe discover a few new foods you’d love to splurge on!

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