Saturday, January 31, 2015

Get Back In Your Kitchen!

I see this scenario too often. You’re busy with work, school, household chores, or fill-in-the-blank. The last place you turn your attention to is the kitchen. This is a mistake! Your performance in every other area of your life depends on what happens in your kitchen. Let me explain.

When you delegate food growth, production, and preparation to industries, you will generally find that their greatest interest lay in profit margins. This often results in culture, the environment, and ultimately our health being compromised. Healthy cooking or food preparation of your own foods assists you in taking full control of your life.

If we really knew how most of the food we eat was grown, handled, and treated most of us would think twice before eating it. Preparing your own food is the best way to control what is best for ourselves. Does the guy running the machinery in the factory truly care about your health? Does the cook at the local diner? Does the Mad Man at the advertising agency?

When you start preparing your own food, you will find that you start to reconnect with your body, and when you eat out or occasionally fall back on some processed food you will understand how that affects you. When you take the time to purchase, stock, and prepare the whole, clean foods you and your family consume, you are far more in control of exactly what goes into your body, and you will feel better, think clearer, and see better results from your workouts. Remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet! 

When you buy pre-made or processed food you are giving that power and control to others that do not have your best interested in mind.  Don’t give away your power! Be a little bit of a control freak. Of course, we all find ourselves eating out from time to time, and we make the best choices we can when we do. However, we can strive to find a little time for meal planning, and food prep during our week. It takes no more time to create a healthy meal at home than it does to drive to the take-out place, order, and wait for them to do it for you (with who knows what ingredients!) It’s also cheaper!

So, will you let your inner control freak out for a bit this week?

Monday, January 19, 2015

I've started a new habit, and I think it's beneficial. Many sources that I use recommend drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning. There are many benefits to this habit: 

  • The lemon triggers bile flow, aiding in digestion
  • Lemons provide vitamins and antioxidants that help boost the immune system. 
  • It helps balance pH in the body while hydrating tissues. 
  • It helps dissolve uric acid, which can cause joint pain and inflammation
  • It provides minerals and helps prevent overgrowth of pathogens. 
  • It helps stimulate elimination.
  • It generally just helps wake you up .
For the past several weeks, instead of rolling out of bed and reaching for the coffee, I pour boiling water over a squeezed lemon quarter instead. I sip this while I set my intention for the day and make my to-do list. Once I've finished that, I fill my big water bottle and get my workout done before breakfast.
I feel that this new habit has helped me cut down on my coffee consumption, but I still usually have a cup after breakfast. I like waiting to eat until after my workout so my body can focus on the workout and not on digesting. Then my breakfast becomes recovery fuel (usually in the form of a Shakeology) for my muscles. However, if I am unable to workout until later, or if I'm headed out for a bike ride I eat after my lemon water.

Are you willing to give it a try? You don't have to give up coffee...just put it off a bit.  Let me know what happens after two weeks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Excessive sugar in the diet has been linked to obesity, and a higher risk of chronic diseases. Sugar contains no nutrients, healthy fats, proteins, or enzymes. It is more than empty calories. Sugar pulls minerals from the body as it is digested. It is addictive: It creates a hormone cascade when consumed that starts a positive feedback loop in the body to encourage more consumption. Sugar increases triglycerides and bad cholesterol, can stress the liver, and cause weight gain.

In the United States, most adults consume 22 teaspoons (355 calories) of sugar a day, yet the recommended intake is only six teaspoons (100 calories) for adult women and nine teaspoons (150 calories) for men. Back  in the early 1800s, Americans were consuming just 3.8 teaspoons of sugar per day.

While you are trying to avoid or reduce the sugar in your food beware of artificial sugar replacements! Read labels carefully. Very often, chemically created artificial sweeteners are added to make up for the lack of natural sweetness in a product and these are highly toxic for the body. Artificial sugars should be eliminated completely, which includes high fructose corn syrup, Aspartame, and Splenda.

Know sugar's aliases. Sugar hides under many sneaky names: fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup. Many processed foods may list more than one of these ingredients, an indication that the food is unhealthy.

Of course, if you don't buy processed foods you'll greatly reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Even most commercial peanut butter has added sugar! Why? Because sugar is addicting. By adding it to packaged foods, aka factory food,  the manufacturers are increasing the chances that you'll buy it again. 

It may take a couple of weeks for you to lose your sugar cravings, but be strong! Be conscious of what you put into your body. Stick with whole, unprocessed foods (organic when possible and always non-GMO) and soon your cravings will lesson. Your taste buds will adjust. Super-sweet foods like ice cream and candy will start to taste too sweet. When you could have a whole slice of cake before, now a couple bites will be enough. You'll notice the natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables—and yep, they'll taste better, too.

Here are few tips for reducing sugar throughout your day. Gradually move towards less sweet food and your palate will change. 

  • Try stirring unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon into your morning oatmeal instead of sugar, or cook your oats with a chopped date or two. 
  • Buy plain, unsweetened yogurt and stir in some fresh pomegranate or berries. 
  • Try whole grain pasta with sauteed fresh tomatoes and veggies instead of sauce from a jar.
  • Try Banana Ice Cream (recipe and tutorial here: instead of sugary store-bought ice cream. 
  • If you're having trouble refusing a sweet treat, remove yourself from the situation. Perhaps take a walk or busy your hands with a craft project. 
  • Don't skip meals. When you go without breakfast, lunch, or dinner, your blood sugar levels drop, propelling you toward high-sugar (often convenience, ie processed) foods to quell your cravings.
  • Don't go cold turkey. Sugar is highly addictive and trying to cut it all out of your diet at once can leave you feeling deprived, tired, or headachey. Try going half and half for a couple of weeks and gradually weaning off of it. 
  • Avoid sodas--even sugar-free ones which are full of toxic chemicals. Stick with water and flavor it with mint or fruit if you like. 
  • Bump up the flavor with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or vanilla.  

Shakeology is also a great tool in your arsenal against sugar. the proteins and amino acids help keep blood sugar steady and reduce hunger and cravings. In a study of 3000 people, 81% reported a reduction in junk food cravings. That's what feeding your body with superb nutrition does! 

You can try Shakeology for 5 Days, in conjunction with my personal email coaching with nutrition and exercise tips and a sample meal plan. Email me at for more info!