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Eat Real Food Collage

the real food diet

[diet] noun ˈdī-ət
1) habitual nourishment
2) a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons

Let’s take a look at those two definitions of the word diet. Definition #1 addresses the everyday act of nourishing our bodies. Definition #2, the version of diet you’re likely more used to hearing and using, describes a state of restrictive eating intended to produce weight loss.

I don’t know about you, but habitual nourishment sounds a whole lot more fun than a special course of food to which one restricts oneself – especially with the knowledge that habitual nourishment can produce weight loss just as well, if not better, than a restrictive diet.

This is all to say that as we dig into the eating style we subscribe to – the real food diet – we’re 100 percent talking about ‘diet’ in the sense of habitual nourishment. And the best part about this diet that’s not really a diet? It’s a way of eating that’s simple, approachable, holistically good for your body and maintainable. Oh, and it elevates those incredible Bari results, too.

So what’s the deal with the real food diet?

the real food philosophy

We believe in eating food in its most natural, unprocessed state; we believe our bodies will thank us for this both in the immediate future and down the road. This commitment to eating ethically is an investment in our health. It’s not a diet in the most commonly accepted sense of the word because it’s rooted in more than the physical results of eating well; it’s rooted in a conviction that food – real food – prevents illness and treats our bodies the way they need to be treated to optimally function and flourish.

We eat real food because the alternative is eating fake food, and, well, you are what you eat. We’re real foodists.

the real food rules

Here are our guidelines, adapted from 100 Days of Real Food, of what fits the bill for real food, as well as what doesn’t.

what you can eat:
1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
2. Seasonal fruits and vegetables – in abundance! (Shop for these at your local farmers’ market when possible.)
3. Organic dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs and cheese (so long as you don’t have a dairy intolerance)
4. 100% whole wheat and whole grains (find a local bakery for the freshest bread or find a store-bought bread with fewer than five ingredients and no sugar)
5. Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
6. Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef and chicken (no more than once per day)
7. Beverages limited to water, organic milk, nut milks, fresh-pressed juices, coffee, tea, wine and beer (no more than 4 servings throughout the week)
8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and freshly popped popcorn
9. All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation

what you cannot eat:
1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat, not just “wheat”)
2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, agave nectar, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda.
3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
4. No deep fried foods
5. No “fast foods”

a sample day of real food eating

Oatmeal topped with fresh berries, chia seeds and almond butter
Two eggs scrambled or pan-fried with a slice of millet bread topped with ¼ avocado, mashed

morning snack:
Green juice or smoothie (suggested blend: spinach, kale, cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger)

Salad with beans, lots of raw/grilled vegetables, hard-boiled egg, seeds or nuts and olive oil and balsamic

afternoon snack:
Hummus and carrot sticks and celery
An apple with 1 tbsp. almond butter

Grilled salmon with sauted vegetables and a serving of whole grains
Sushi with brown rice and edamame

Popcorn (air-popped) topped with sea salt and nutritional yeast
4-6 oz. glass of wine (we know which option you’re choosing…)

This post, initially published on April 18, 2014, was updated on April 17th, 2015.

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meatless monday: vegan split pea soup

vegan split pea soupIMG_3572


  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, diced
  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (you may need to use slightly more or less depending on your vegetable broth)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • roasted chickpeas for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat, and saute onion, carrots and celery for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  2. Add broth, split peas, basil, cumin and oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.
  3. Add salt and pepper and puree to desired consistency. Top with roasted chickpeas, if desired.
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meatless monday: roasted vegetable horseradish salad

Before we fully transition into overdosing on spring’s bounty of greens on greens on greens, here’s one more bowl of healthy comfort food to pay homage to the winter that just would not quit. This warm vegetable salad is very much inspired by a dish I fell in love with from True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach. Loaded with perfectly caramelized vegetables and dressed in a spicy horseradish dressing, this is the salad to eat when you’re not in the mood for salad. 

roasted vegetable horseradish saladIMG_3410


  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 scallion (white part only), finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 cooked white beans
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried mulberries


  1. Pre-heat broiler. Toss cauliflower in a light coating of olive oil and salt, and roast under broiler until soften and lightly caramelized — about 10 minutes. Do the same for the sweet potatoes (which may take 15 minutes) and brussels sprouts.
  2. While vegetables are roasting, sauté garlic, shallots and scallions in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat for three minutes. Whisk in the champagne vinegar, horseradish, red pepper, salt and olive oil, and remove from heat.
  3. Once vegetables are finished roasting, mix with beans, pomegranate seeds and dried mulberries. Toss with dressing to coat evenly, and serve warm.


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meatless monday: spicy miso soup with daikon noodles

I know winter’s not done with us yet, but by some grace of the germ gods, I haven’t gotten sick this season. I’ve been around sick family, children, co-workers, clients, and somehow my immune system is standing strong and totally killing it. (Brb, have to go knock on some wood.) Anytime I’ve felt an inkling of anything sick-y, I’ve made this soup. It’s spicy, cleansing and so, so good. Also, it has noodles made of daikon radish, which when boiled in broth takes on an entirely different flavor. I’m not saying this soup is responsible for my superhero immunity, but I’m also not ruling it out.

spicy miso soup with daikon noodlesIMG_3100

serves 2


  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, very thinly sliced (keep seeds for extra spice)
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large daikon radish, peeled
  • 1 package of enoki mushrooms, ends removed
  • 1/4 cup miso
  • 2 cups of baby bok choy
  • 2 eggs (cooked either soft-boiled or over-easy)


  1. Add water, onion, jalapeño, ginger and garlic to medium soup pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
  2. Spiralize daikon using a spiralizer. (The one we use is the Paderno.) Add spiralized daikon and enoki mushrooms to broth, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove 1/2 cup of broth and whisk in miso paste until dissolved. Return to pot, along with bok choy. Simmer for 3 minutes, or until bok choy is cooked through but still bright green.
  4. Divide into two portions, and top each bowl with an egg (soft-boiled or over-easy).
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meatless monday: lentil meatballs

Ready to grab your Meatless Monday by the (veggie) balls? Today’s recipe is a slightly modified take on the Meatball Shop’s incredible vegetarian lentil balls. The original recipe is pretty healthy as is, but with a few tweaks (less oil + no cheese), I feel good about making + devouring these as often as I do. I love them served over a bed of roasted broccoli and, if I’m feeling fancy, dipped in some good barbecue sauce.

lentil meatballsIMG_3062

slightly adapted from the meatball shop


  • 2 cups lentils
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts


  1. Bring two quarts of water to a boil in a medium stockpot. Add lentils, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until lentils are cooked through. Drain lentils, and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt and crushed pepper (if using) over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat all vegetables evenly; cook for another 3 minutes until the tomato paste smells fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.
  3. Add the eggs, nutritional yeast, panko, parsley and walnuts, and mix by hand to incorporate. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil two baking sheets.
  5. Roll the mixture into golf ball-size meatballs, and make sure to pack the mixture firmly together. Arrange at least 1/2 inch apart from each other.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.


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meatless monday: black bean soup with sweet potato croutons

#failproofers (and hopefully non-failproofers, too!): we’re eating real food this week! If you haven’t jumped on the real food bandwagon yet, this is your chance. Take this week to fall in love with the simplicity and deliciousness of sticking to real food; the results will follow. Tired of healthy food that tastes healthy? This recipe is for you. It’s warm, comforting and filling enough to fuel your body without weighing you down. It’s delicious enough that you’ll eat through the leftovers without giving in to the ‘let’s just order Seamless’ temptation.

black bean soup with sweet potato croutonsIMG_2938


  • 1 lb. dried black beans
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced (to decrease level of spice, remove seeds)
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (double this for extra heat!)
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Soak dried beans in water overnight, or for at least 6 hours. Once soaked, rinse under cold water for a minute.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots and celery for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno and spices, and saute for another minute.
  3. Add beans and vegetable broth to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for one hour.
  4. While the soup is cooking, pre-heat oven to 450ºF. Toss sweet potatoes with coconut oil and sea salt (to taste), arrange on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway.
  5. Once soup is cooked through (black beans should be fork tender), puree with an immersion blender. Season with salt to taste (add 1/4 teaspoon at a time; amount needed will depend on the level of salt in your vegetable broth) and additional cayenne pepper if desired. Stir in lime juice.
  6. Top each bowl of soup with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sweet potato croutons.
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meatless monday: roasted sesame shishito peppers

Resolved to eat more veggies in 2015? Here’s a good place to start. This roasted veggie side is so damn simple: turn on your oven, toss in a little oil + flava flave and roast for 10 minutes. That’s it, you’re done. And thanks to the natural flavor of shishitos (helped along by sesame oil + Maldon salt), you’re going to love this whole eating more veggies thing.

roasted sesame shishito peppersIMG_2905


  • 1 lb. shishito peppers
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s
  • 1 tsp. Maldon sea salt flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Toss peppers with sesame oil and soy sauce, and arrange on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes until browned and crispy.
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MM_Recipe 12-15-2014

meatless monday: bbq tempeh

Simple ingredients (I’m looking at you, tempeh) get by with a little help from their friends (a.k.a. condiments, sauces or anything that imparts flavor). In this case, it’s barbecue sauce that takes tempeh from bland to something craveable (really). And instead of relying on store-bought (likely sugar-laden) barbecue sauce, we’re whipping up a fast and easy homemade version that’s a bit more virtuous and just as delicious.

bbq tempeh



  • 1/3 cup organic tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.2 tsp. black pepper
  • 8 oz. organic, non-gmo tempeh, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil


  1. Blend all ingredients except for tempeh together until combined.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce over tempeh slices and let marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add tempeh (along with barbecue sauce) to the pan and saute for 5 to 7 minutes until sauce is absorbed and tempeh is lightly browned.
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MM_Recipe 12-08-2014

meatless monday: stuffed honey nut squash

I found these little guys at the farmer’s market last weekend and, of course, needed to buy ten of them. (Thank god I have bari arm strength.) Among a sea of familiar gourds, the sign in front of these new-to-me honey nut squash said that they were a pint-sized version of butternut squash (duh) but intensely sweeter. Half of my brain thought, “Riiiiight, these are mutant baby butternut squash with a made-up name.” The other half thought, “So cute. So tiny. And sweeter than butternut?” We know how this story ends — had to have em, had to find out. The verdict? That sign wasn’t lying. They’re super sweet, so good and the cute tiny-vegetable factor really shouldn’t be overlooked. 

stuffed honey nut squashIMG_2588


  • 8 honey nut squash
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt.
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. warm water


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Cut each squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and bake skin side down for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.
  2. While the squash is baking, heat coconut oil in a medium pan and saute onion and cabbage for 7 to 10 minutes, until soft and cooked through.
  3. Mix together cabbage, onion, cooked brown rice, sunflower seeds, raisins and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, honey, garlic, cumin and water. Set aside.
  5. Remove squash from oven, stuff with rice mixture and drizzle with tahini sauce.
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12 days of fitness BLOG-1

the 12 days of fitness

December? Already? 2014, you happened really quickly. We always welcome the new year with open arms (who doesn’t love a blank slate?), but as we head into this final chapter of 2014, we’re feeling committed to making it count. We’re determined to make fresh and inspired new year’s resolutions come January, and not simply the same ones we made but didn’t stick to last year.

It’s too easy to blow off the end of the year. We’re busy. We’re laughing at (and in awe of) those superhuman versions of ourselves who used to work out five times a week. We can’t remember the last time we had nothing to do. We’re not sure when exactly we’re going to squeeze in holiday shopping — let alone a 55-minute workout. Oh, and we know that January’s blank slate is just around the corner, making it all too enticing to just give into gluttony/laziness/[insert weakness here] for just one more month… and then turn it all around in 2015. But why? Why wait? Why set ourselves back when we could spend these next 31 days growing, strengthening and really just making it count?

There’s no good reason (lots of excuses, but no logical reason) — so we’re not going to throw in the towel this December. We’re going to make it count. And we’re going to have fun doing so. How? The 12 Days of Fitness. Consider this totally achievable, fun sweat challenge your December to do list. Check each of the 12 items off your checklist by December 31st (yes, you’ve got 31 days to complete 12 actions) — and enter to win a $250 credit to bari by posting your sweaty proof to Instagram. Yep, it’s that simple. And come January? You’ll be so ready to kick 2015’s ass instead of letting it kick yours.

12 days of fitness BLOG-2

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