Real Foods I Love + Pre-Launch Party Recap


Check out the behind the scenes at The Real Food Grocery Guide pre-launch party, and some of my favorite Real Food brands that were a part of it!

To celebrate the birth of my first book, I invited 30 fellow health and wellness influencers to Dr. Smood, a gorgeous new organic cafe and juice bar in NYC, for conversation, and of course REAL FOOD.

The evening started with lots of mingling…

…and eating Dr. Smood’s delicious foods and decadent desserts (that happen to be plant-based, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free).

and of course, flipping through The Real Food Grocery Guide.

Then, Liana Werner Gray of The Earth Diet moderated a conversation about the book and REAL FOOD.

There were so many great questions afterwards…even the wellness peeps have questions about healthy eating!

Goody Bag Swag

Everyone left with a goody bag stuffed to the MAX with some of my favorite real food brands, including:

Fawen Drinkable Soup

I LOVE these drinkable soups by Fawen- sort of like savory smoothies – which are perfect for on the go. I keep them in my purse (aka my mobile office) when I am running around to meetings throughout the city. Each flavor is delicious:

  • Sweet Potato & Red Lentil with Cinnamon
  • Beet & Cabbage with Cumin
  • Broccoli & Cauliflower with Turmeric

They don’t need to be refrigerated, and you can drink them room temperature or chilled so they are super convenient. You could of course pour them in a pot to quickly reheat at home, too. The ingredient list is super clean – essentially vegetables and spices – without any added sugar or fillers.

They are very filling, and when I have them, they typically tide me over for hours.

You can find them online at,, and in stores throughout NYC (you can find a store near you with their store locator).

Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

A serving of pasta with 25 grams of protein?!?! YES, PLEASE! This Explore Cuisine Black Bean Pasta has ONE ingredient – black beans. It’s also high in fiber (12 g per serving). When covered in your favorite sauces or toppings, it tastes and twirls around your fork similar enough to the regular stuff, that you won’t miss a thing (but think of all the added protein and fiber!)

You can find it online at (my new fave place to shop for healthy groceries at a fraction of the price), as well as many health food stores and grocers across the country. Use their store locator to find a store near you.

Redmond Real Salt

Redmond Real Salt is a staple in my kitchen! Switching from table salt to unrefined salt like Real Salt is one of the first things I recommend my clients to do. Table salt is chemically cleaned and stripped of most of it’s minerals, essentially leaving sodium chloride (and they sometimes add anti-caking agents). Unrefined salt still maintains dozens of trace minerals our bodies need, and tastes infinitely better, in my opinion. I also personally find it to taste “saltier” and so that I end up using less.

You can find real salt on or at many grocery stores across the country. They even have the CUTEST mini shakers on Vitacost for $1.89, which you can keep in your purse for when you eat out. You can learn more about Real Salt here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the best spices to keep on hand for a healthy kitchen, check out the FREE bonus Real Food Guide to Spices and Superfoods when you order The Real Food Grocery Guide.

Hilary’s Ranch Chia Dressing

I have been obsessed with Hilary’s Veggie Burgers for years (I wrote my first review of them back in 2014!!) and was so excited when they introduced a dressing and dip line. Most dressings are loaded with added sugar and inferior oils, but Hilary’s dressings not only taste good, they are free from both!

Their Ranch Chia, made with a coconut milk base, is my fave. I often put it on my Hilary’s burgers, but you can use it to dip veggies, on a salad, or however you fancy.

You can find it on or in grocery stores across the country (It’s in the shelf-stable dressing aisle). Find a store near you here.

And although, not pictured, please PLEASE try their veggie burgers. They are literally the best tasting (and have the best real food ingredient list) compared to any other veggie burgers in the freezer section. Great for nights when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen!

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil is a staple in my kitchen…and should be in yours, too! As I explain in The Real Food Grocery Guide, it is one of the three oils I recommend to have on hand, to cook anything healthfully.

Avocado oil is a fantastic choice because it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, which means it’s a great choice for sauteeing or roasting at high temperatures. This is important because even healthy oils can become unhealthy when they are cooked at a temperature above their “smoke point” (literally the temperature at which the oil smokes…So, if you forget about a pan of olive oil or coconut oil on the stove top and the oil starts to smoke, carefully dispose and start again).

You can find Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil on Vitacost, or at a store near you.

More Brand Picks

For more of my brand picks, in every aisle of the grocery store, check out the Real Food Brand Picks BONUS GUIDE when you pre-order The Real Food Grocery Guide.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support and share the book! Food changes everything, and I know this book has the power to help and change so many lives, so am so grateful to everyone for sharing the message. <3

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Hi, I’m Maria and I’m an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

I help busy women lose weight or clear up their acne by developing healthier eating habits, based on a plant-based paleo diet.

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