April 16, 2020
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If you want clear skin that lasts, and I am pretty sure you do, I encourage you to look beyond just skincare. Skincare is important, there's no doubt about that, but to truly get the skin you desire you have to consider what you are eating.
Your skin is only as healthy as each cell in it.
Think on this a moment. That's a powerful statement, right? The same can be said for every organ in your body and the skin is really no different. After all, your skin is your body's largest organ.
Let's talk about the benefits of omega 3 essential fatty acids for clearer skin. The term "essential" in this case simply means that your body doesn't make these fatty acids, you have to consume them.
The benefits of omega 3's reads like a laundry list of things you definitely want in your life!
Omega 3's are shown to help:
- Clear skin
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve learning
- Mellow mood
- Lessen colitis and IBS
- Improve the health of your gums, vision and hearing
- and the list goes on....
What I want to share with you specifically is how you can use omega 3's to help improve the appearance of your skin. Fortunately, there's been a lot of good research done in this area. While there is a lot to say about this topic I'm going to break it down for you into a few simple ideas.
First, some basic science.
Omega fats are called long-chain fatty acids. The longer the chain, the healthier the oil and the greater benefit for your body and skin.
Omegas are categorized as:
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which has 22 carbon atoms and 6 double bonds.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which has 20 carbon atoms and 5 double bonds.
- ALA (alpha lineoic acid) which has 18 carbon atoms and 3 double bonds.
There are two ways to get omegas into your diet: plant sources and seafood sources. DHA and EPA are only found in seafood, while ALA only comes from the land. As mentioned above, the taller an omega gets (22 and 20 carbon atoms) the smarter it is and the greater the health benefits. It's clear to see that DHA and EPA (seafood sources) are the taller omegas.
This isn't to say that plant sources of omegas don't have their place in a healthy diet because they absolutely do. Flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are a few examples of plant based sources of omega 3's. These foods also have many other health and skin benefits as well, so don't hesitate to add these to your nutrition plan.
However, there is one key thing to consider if only using plant sources and that is....
Rate of Conversion
When you consume plant sources of omegas (ALA) your body must perform a series of biochemical steps in order to convert ALA into DHA or EPA so the body and brain can actually use it. The conversion rate of this process can be as low as 1%.
Some people are naturally "low converters." In other words, you may be eating plenty of plant based omegas but your body isn't able to utilize them well.
How do you know if you are a low converter or a high converter? The only way to know for sure is with a blood test and it's not exactly inexpensive.
When it comes to seafood based sources there are two that I recommend. The first is wild caught alaskan salmon. I wrote an entire post about this amazing fish and you can read that here
I recommend purchasing wild caught salmon from a trusted source such as VitalChoice.com. Vital Choice Seafood offers wild caught fish, never farmed, offering only sustainably-caught seafood. Use this link to receive free shipping on your $99 order.
FREE SHIPPING ON WILD SALMON ORDERS OVER $99+ At VitalChoice.com! Click Here!
Wild caught salmon is a superior choice for omega 3 fatty acids. This fish contains DHA and EPA as well as astaxanthin which is a powerful antioxidant. Astaxanthin is what gives wild caught salmon it's beautiful pink color.
Notice I keep saying wild caught. This is important because farmed raised salmon does not contain the same powerful antioxidants nor the same amount of quality omega 3's. In fact, farmed salmon often has pink color added to it to make it appear more like it's wild caught counterpart. Therefore, I recommend you always opt for wild caught.
What should I do if I'm vegan?
If you are vegan you can still get a "seafood" source of omegas by choosing a supplement that contains algae. This is the plant that the fish eats so it's a little bit like "cutting out the middle man." Some people who aren't vegan have found they prefer a vegan based supplement over a fish oil supplement because there is no fishy aftertaste. Personally, I have found that there is no fishy after taste if you choose a high quality fish oil supplement
. I recommend Vital Choice not only for their delicious seafood products but also for their omega 3 supplements
None the less, if you prefer a vegan option they are available. Juice Plus offers an Omega blend
that is a superior option for vegans or those preferring to steer clear of fish. You can click here
to find out more about this wonderful option.
It's not enough to consume omega 3's. You must also must limit the amount of omega 6's you consume. The same enzymes that metabolize omega-3 into nutrients for the body, are also responsible for metabolizing omega-6. A diet high in omega-6s will use all these enzymes. Then there aren't enough enzymes left to metabolize the omega-3s. Unfortunately, most diets are very high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s. The ideal ratio of omega-6s to omega 3-3s is 2:1. The standard diet is 10:1. I've even seen research that points to diets being as high as 30:1. The good news is this can be shifted.
Here are a few oils that are high in omega-6s:
- cottonseed oil
- corn oil
- safflower oil
- grapeseed oil
- soybean oil
While you may or may not be cooking with these oils in your home, these oils are often found in abundance in packaged, processed foods. Turn over almost any box of crackers, chips, cookies and you'll most likely see at least one of these oils listed in the ingredient list. They also sometimes lie in unexpected places such as jarred marinara sauce. This is why I encourage you to always read the ingredient list. The nutrition label has important information as well, but you can often learn more by reading what is actually in a food product.
Also important to remember is that anytime you are eating in a restaurant you are probably consuming these oils which are higher in omega-6s.
The are two main reasons why these oils are so commonly used:
So now that you have this information, what are you supposed to do with it?
- they are inexpensive
- they are shelf stable - meaning the food will have a longer shelf life
Never go eat in a restaurant? Never buy any packaged foods?
Not only is that unrealistic but a large part of life is enjoyment and that includes having a meal in a restaurant as well as being able to enjoy a packaged snack on the go.
And remember, you aren't trying to ELIMINATE your intake of omega-6 essential fatty acid. That would not be wise! You simply want to be mindful about how much of them you are consuming.
It's what you do MOST of the time that matters.
Here are a few tips to increase your omega-3 intake while reducing your intake of omega-6.
How is all of this related to the appearance of your skin?
- Cook at home using as many fresh ingredients as possible. Making your meals in your own kitchen is really the only way to ensure what oils you are consuming. You have complete control as the chef of your kitchen and that's exciting!
- Become an avid label reader. Read the ingredient list of items you commonly buy. The good news is for most packaged foods available, there is always a healthier alternative. A perfect example, is jarred marinara sauce. There are versions that include added sugar and cheap vegetable oils. Keep looking and you will find one that does not contain these things.
- Consider adding wild caught salmon to your diet a few nights a week.
- Consider choosing an omega-3 supplement. Vegan seafood source (find that here) or fish source (find that here). *Always talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement routine.
- Start slow. If this feels like a lot of changes for you, please don't make them all at once. Choose one thing that you can start doing and focus on that. I firmly believe that when making nutritional changes, slow and steady wins the race.
It's simple. Acne can be a sign of excess inflammation in the body. Acne itself is a form of inflammation. By reducing the amount of excess inflammation in the body, it is possible to reduce the amount of excess inflammation that makes it appearance on the skin. The beauty of your skin goes far beyond your skincare routine.
Did you enjoy this? Please share with a friend!
Have you received your free copy of 10 Things in 10 Days for Blemish Free Skin? If not, click here
to download it now.
Resources: William Sears, MD "Prime Time Health: A Scientifically Proven Plan for Feeling Young and Living Longer."
Nicholas Perricone, MD "The Clear Skin Prescription: The Perricone Program to Eliminate Problem Skin."
This blog post is not intended to be used for medical advice. Before beginning any supplement routine or making changes to your diet it is advised that you seek counsel with a medical health professional.
January 19, 2018
Here come the doughnuts! There goes my diet plan!
How many times have you begun a nutrition plan or diet only to have someone bring doughnuts to your office or home?
You have the best intentions and you're certain your willpower will hold out this time. After all your beach trip is only a few, short weeks away, and you want to look good in your swimsuit!
Usually this is where the bargaining begins. You have a debate with yourself. You reason that you've been so good on your diet so you choose to indulge a little. Everyone else is, why should you be the only one left out? So you take a delicious doughnut, or two, and decide that tomorrow is a new day and you'll eat perfectly tomorrow.
Does this situation sound familiar? Maybe it's not doughnuts for you but chips and salsa, or ice cream? Whatever "it" is doesn't really matter. What does matter how you feel afterward -- as a wimp with no willpower.
I'm going to share with you a secret: willpower has nothing to do with it.
In my days of constantly chasing weight loss and experimenting with different diets this scenario was common place for me. I see the scenario daily on social media. It's usually portrayed with clever memes or a gif but, nevertheless, the guilt-trip is the same - success comes from willpower, and if you only had more of it you'd be successful.
Why does this cycle happen and how can it be stopped?
Willpower is highly overrated. It's a word we frequently use and see yet, if asked, I'm guessing most of us would have trouble defining it. It almost feels like a mystical factor that needs to be harnessed in order to have power over food.
I'll say it again. A lack of willpower is not most people's problem.
Take the focus off of willpower and instead put it on decisions, habits and discipline.
Dieting doesn't work in the long run and I'm not a fan.
Instead, of dieting for weight loss, nourish your body through whole food nutrition.
- It doesn't last
- it isn't a sustainable way of eating and
- it often leaves your body lacking nutritionally
Add to that balance. Balance in life liberates us from cycles of defeat.
Take that box of doughnuts that just walked into your office. Everybody is partaking. When you do not you create at least two unproductive, self-defeating circumstances. First, you put the entire office on notice that you are "trying to lose weight." Every day after that someone (at least one) will ask how is the diet going? How much weight have you lost? Odds are the person you find most annoying will be the one who asks most often. You have put your waistline in the spotlight, center stage. That's pressure you neither want nor need.
The second self-defeating and unproductive circumstance you create when turning down a doughnut while everyone else is indulging is the "apple in the Garden of Eden" effect. The more you tell yourself "No," the stronger the attraction and urge to partake. Who wants that battle?
There's a better way, and you can embark on that way now; before the doughnuts-in-the-office challenges. Decide to change the way you eat. It is your decision. You are in control. You are the master of your destiny.
The first step is to write down why you're changing the way you eat. This can't be a simple blanket statement, such as, "I'd like to lose 10 lbs." Why do you want to lose 10 lbs? What will losing 10 lbs do for you? How will your life be different once those 10 lbs are gone? You need to answer these questions and you need to write it down.
The women I work with complete that exercise with precision and clarity. They know specifically what they want, and they know the reason behind it.
Furthermore, what you want to change has to be of greater importance than the food you want to indulge in.
When I decided to heal my acne through nutrition I learned that I needed to eliminate certain foods that were not serving my body. Unfortunately, these were foods I really didn't want to let go of. A part of me felt I needed these foods to be content. I teeter-tottered and struggled with committing to a decision for a long time, and my results showed it. My face would clear, and then I would revert to eating as I always had, and my acne would come back.
It wasn't until I became utterly dissatisfied with my appearance that I successfully eliminated certain destructive foods, and replaced those with foods that were helping my body. Now I no longer miss those old foods. But initially what kept me on track was realizing why I made the decision.
You may want to lose 5 lbs, but what that requires may not be something you want to do. The 5 lbs, you rationalize, isn't that uncomfortable to live with. Do you understand where I'm going with this? Your "why" has to be bigger than anything else. When that happen it is no longer a "should do" decision, but rather a "want to" choice. It is always easier to do what you want to do that what you should do. Granted, discipline will be necessary because motivation and drive don't always hang around long.
The final component to this is to recognize that they are physiological things, completely outside your control, that take place in the body when you change the way you eat. If you're craving something, or feel you lack self-control with certain foods (especially with highly refined carbohydrates), there is a reason. This is where one-on-one coaching will carry you to success.
Reach out to me right now. Let's have a complimentary conversation. Take the first step to becoming who you want to be.
January 11, 2018
What if you never again had to use the word "cheat" when it comes to food? FREEDOM!
It's sad that over the years we've forgotten how to eat. We seem to know nothing about listening to our own bodies. We use words like "cheating" when it comes to what we eat. It's nonsense and, when I hear it, I hurt for the person who believes it.
The most recent statistic I heard is that the diet industry is a $72 billion industry. We live in a culture where people are obsessed with weight loss and quick fixes. The problem is it's easy to sacrifice your health in the name of weight loss. The good news is you don't have to do it this way!
You don't need to:
There are so many methods of eating available: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, keto and the list goes on.
Apart from food camps there are numerous diets available that promise quick, yet lasting results. Cabbage soup diet (been there, done that), apple cider vinegar and maple syrup fast, carb cycling (who can keep track?), counting calories, tracking macros, etc.
I've tried a few of these myself. In fact when I first began healing my body through nutrition I classified myself as a vegan. I'm the first to admit I've fallen into the trap of forcing myself into a food camp, and I've had my fair share of dieting.
- Punish yourself for the foods you've eaten
- View foods as "good" or "bad"
- Use the word "cheat" when it comes to the foods you've put in your body
- Ever again say, "I'll start Monday."
Learning to listen to your body is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. Tuning into your body will bring you peace with food. Weight loss, if it needs to happen, will occur in a much more sustainable, life giving way with lasting results.
It's hard for women to believe that I don't follow a specific plan. What rules do I follow? How do I know when to eat or what to eat? I understand their questions because I had these same questions a few years ago. It's what led me to where I am today. Chasing weight loss, looking for quick fixes and miracle cures led me to a place of gut imbalance and chronic inflammation in the form of cystic acne. I had to find different answers.
Before jumping into a new diet plan or finding yourself feeling trapped by a food camp I encourage you to consider these few things.
When you follow my principles (the basic are cited above), and you put them into practice so they become second nature, something beautiful happens: you never have to diet again. I know because I'm finally at that point myself, after years of battling with my own body.
I will teach you how to get to this point yourself.
It is possible to not fret or worry every time you're around food. It is possible to feel good in your own skin without being tied down to a diet.
Tired of the nonsense? Click here to apply to work with me.
- Learn to listen to what your body is telling you
- Identify your food intolerances and avoid them even if it's the healthiest food on the planet, if you don't digest it well, don't eat it!
- Keep your body hydrated with purified water
- Don't become legalistic when it comes to food
- Focus on real, whole foods that nourish your body well.
November 29, 2017
When I first wanted to heal my acne through nutrition, Google became my best friend. I honestly didn't know much about nutrition, and I definitely didn't understand how food affects our body and our skin. One of the first concepts I encountered while researching adult female acne was a vegan diet.
While the cystic acne on my face was at it's height in severity, I went vegan for many months. In the beginning I did notice some improvement in the appearance of my skin. However, in the end being vegan didn't win out for me.
While my diet is still largely plant based, I don't eliminate all animal products. I want to share with you my thoughts on the vegan diet, specifically as it relates to acne.
The benefits of a vegan diet can be the large number of plants consumed. When you're not consuming animal protein, you need more fruits and vegetables to fill you up. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body.
Acne can be an indication of excess inflammation in the body so, logically, it makes sense to consume more fruits and vegetables. The problem that often arises here, and the reason I put can be in italics, it's easy to be vegan and lose sight of nutrition.
It's easy to become so focused on whether a not a food is vegan that you forget to evaluate nutritional value. Technically, Oreo's® are vegan. Although I don't think anyone would argue that eating these cookies will help clear your skin. I've seen many times, including in myself, where consuming a vegan diet quickly turns to lots of vegan baked goods, pastas and baked potatoes. These things are fine in moderation but they aren't the super-foods needed to boost our immune system so you can give acne a kiss good-bye.
The downside to a vegan diet is its neglect of healthy fats. When researching a vegan diet I was quite alarmed at how many proponents of this diet still had the low fat mentality that plagued the 90's. The concept of following a low fat/no fat diet is outdated information that was never actually correct. In fact, during the 90's when the low fat craze really took off, heart disease increased as people's waist lines grew. Why did this happen? Most likely it was due to high insulin levels. Instead of eating healthy fats, which keep you fuller, longer, people were eating low- fat crackers, highly refined pastas and low- fat yogurts. All these things spike our insulin levels which leads to excess belly fat, AND many people felt constantly hungry because the very thing that helps keep us full fat was removed from food. What I'm discussing here pertains to weight gain and heart health but, please make no mistake, it's also connected to the appearance of your skin. Warning signs of internal excess inflammation in the body, such as acne, should help us connect the dots: a low-fat/no fat diet won't give us the skin, or the overall health we want.
Vegan diets also eliminate the intake of wild-caught, sockeye salmon. I really can't overstate its benefits to our skin health. First, wild-caught salmon provides a hefty dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids simply means our bodies don't make these fats, therefore, we must get them from food. Omega-6's are also essential fatty acids. However, because of deficiencies in our food supply these days (such as eating grain-fed instead of grass-fed beef, or consuming processed foods containing unhealthy, shelf-stable oils) we are ingesting too much omega-6's and not enough omega-3's. The ratio of these oils should be 1:2 omega 3 omega 6. Unfortunately, our modern diets tend to have a ratio of 1:10 of omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to omega-6 (inflammatory). [William Sears, MD, The Inflammation Solution,©2015]
Vegan diets also lack astaxanthin. Here we go again with salmon the prize winning fish! Astaxanthin is another reason to love this fish. Astaxanthin gives salmon its beautiful pink color. It's a nutrient that has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Astaxanthin paired with beneficial omega-3's in wild-caught salmon make this fish vital to our diets. Notice I keep emphasizing wild-caught. It is important that you avoid purchasing farm-raised salmon. It doesn't contain the same amounts of the powerful antioxidants. In fact, farm-raised salmon may have pink color added, so it appears more like wild-caught. I also take a fish oil supplement and have noticed a difference in my skin, hair and nails.
Tip: On the days you enjoy salmon for dinner it's okay to skip your fish oil supplement. This will help you stretch your budget a bit farther as well!
Lastly, I encourage you not to place yourself in a "diet camp." What I mean specifically is avoid anything that promises weight loss as its single goal. It can lead to an all or nothing mentality, in which you feel guilty if you are ever in a situation that makes it impossible to eat and still stay within the diet's strict guidelines. What I do encourage, instead, is focus on real, whole-food nutrition. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Opt for organic produce and meats when possible. If unavoidable, be very selective in the purchase of processed foods. If you're curious what to look for when purchasing processed foods, you can read more here.
Have you ever tried, or are you currently following a vegan diet? Have you noticed an improvement in your skin, hair, and nails? How are you currently eating, and how does it make you feel? Please comment!
November 20, 2017
For optimum health it is better to avoid processed foods. But it can be difficult these days to do that.
Life seems to be busier than ever and it seems we have less time to dedicate in the kitchen than in years past. It's no wonder women resort to picking up boxed packaged items, and foods in the freezer section.
I'm a firm believer in balance. Nutrition shouldn't be viewed as all or nothing. It's all about giving yourself grace.
Do what you can with the knowledge, information, budget and time you have.
While I do cook mostly from scratch there are a few things I purchase prepackaged. However, there are KEY things I look for before buying a processed food; and there are certain factors I won't compromise on.
In order to manage acne it is best done from the inside out. Focus on nutrition to bring your skin to an improved state of health. Examine all facets of your diet.
Let me share with you some key things to look for in any packaged food you buy.
Become a label reader. Take the extra 15 seconds needed to read the ingredient list on every packaged food you buy. I even periodically re-check the labels of foods I buy. Sometimes manufacturers change ingredients, or start using GMO's where they had not previously.
Know what you're putting into your body! For beautiful, clear skin avoid too many processed foods.
- INGREDIENTS: This is an instance where less is more. The fewer the non-food ingredients (such as stabilizers), typically the better the food is for your body.
- WORDS: This one is simple. If you read the ingredient label and you don't recognize half the words, or it sounds like something you'd be reading in chemistry class, look for an alternative.
- SUGAR: It's important to avoid excess sugar, especially refined sugars. Here's where it can be a bit tricky. One of my favorite packaged foods Larabar ® - has a sugar content of around 16 grams per bar. However, the ingredient list is short and it's all REAL foods. The sugar content comes from whole foods not highly processed, refined sugar. Also, they contain some dietary fiber and protein which brings me to the next item.
- PROTEIN and FIBER: Look for items that are high in protein and high in fiber. These foods will help slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream and will help keep you fuller, longer.
- MSG (monosodium glutamate) and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup): Honestly, I could write an entire paper on why these two should be avoided but for now let me keep it simple. MSG is used as a flavor enhancer but it's linked to respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardio vascular, circulatory, muscular, visual and urological conditions. Should I say more? As for HFCS - this is a sneaky little devil. HFCS is a highly processed sweetener that (studies indicate) interferes with your body's natural ability to recognize when you are full. It may, in fact, "tell" your brain, "You're not full. Keep eating." If true, there is little wonder why it would be added to processed foods.
- OIL: Cheap, highly refined oils to avoid include corn, cottonseed, palm kernel, partially hydrogenated, safflower, sunflower and soybean. It can be really tough to find products that don't contain those oils. Most processed foods use cheaper vegetable oils for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately they do nothing for the beauty of our skin (or our insides). These oils are found in obvious places like potato chips but they also hide in sneaky places like jarred sauces and salad dressings. Instead look for oils and products containing oils made from coconut, flax, olive, avocado and nuts.
- NON-GMO: Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have altered DNA, changed by genetic engineering. 75% of all United States processed foods contain a genetically modified ingredient. The concern is genetic engineering hasn't been around long enough for us to know its long term effects. Dr. Sear's motto is "When in doubt, leave it out". I have adopted this attitude as well.
- ORGANIC: This last one I don't adhere to 100% of the time because organic isn't always an available option. If it is available, I typically choose organic over conventional. Organic foods eliminate your consumption of pesticides and herbicides, which is a plus.
- Note food labeled organic are also non-gmo. However, any food labeled non-gmo doesn't necessarily mean it's organic
September 27, 2017
I've openly shared my life long struggle with acne. Battling cystic acne has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. What I haven't shared as openly is how utterly powerless I felt to stop it.
Here are a few of the things I have been told about acne:
- Nutrition has nothing to do with it. Changing what you eat won't clear your skin.
- To keep acne under control you'll always be on some type of medication.
- Your acne is hormonal so therefore it's out of your control.
So basically there is nothing you can do except spend a lot of money on lotions, potions and pills.
No wonder I felt so powerless!
Do any of these sound familiar? Have you been told these things?
I'll never forget the day I looked in the mirror and decided to take control of my acne.
It's like a switch was flipped in my mind and I completely changed my attitude about the whole situation. Knowledge is power and I decided to arm myself with as much knowledge about the body, nutrition and the way foods affect the body as I could.
I implemented what I learned and guess what?
The appearance of my skin improved! I was getting fewer and fewer breakouts. The redness and inflammation in my skin was lessening. Most importantly I no longer felt like a victim of my circumstances.
As I've continued my research I'm honestly amazed at just how much nutrition does affect the way we look, including our skin. I've also discovered a few other key areas, besides the foods we eat, that greatly affect our appearance.
Let me ask you. How do you feel about your skin? Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? Being open to learning more about nutrition and the way food affects the body (for better or worse!) is the first step. When you're ready to take that step let's talk!
July 24, 2017
Are any of these excuses your excuses?
- Not enough money
- Not enough time
- Not the right timing.
Those are common excuses I hear from women for why they are not ready to begin implementing a healthier lifestyle.
- MONEY do you feel you can't afford to eat healthier? That is, for the most part a myth. Eating well or eating poorly costs about the same. Factor in being healthier, and it probably costs less.
- TIME do you think eating healthy is too time-consuming? That is, in fact, a matter of choice. Food preparation can be a pleasant and relaxing time; a time to form some new habits that you've probably wanted to develop anyway.
- TIMING -- are you waiting for the perfect, golden opportunity to start -- after school is out; after school gets back in; after vacation; after Thanksgiving. . . . HUGE mistake! There will always be something to tempt you, to sway you, to steer you off course. It's called LIFE.
I may sound a little unsympathetic here but I'm not. Those excuses used to be my top three. None of them can withstand the power of your decision to eat healthier and to be healthier. The single greatest challenge for me was to overcome the "all or nothing" mentality.
The world of nutrition can seem to be black and white, with little room for any gray areas. You either eat well or you don't. You either purchase only organic food or you don't. You either never eat processed food or you do.
Here's the thing: In a perfect world everyone would be eating only organic, locally sourced produce and grass-fed meats from local farmers and eggs from free-range chickens, etc. You get the picture. Sounds wonderful, but is it reality? Unless you own your own farm and you only eat what you personally grow and you never travel or go on vacation, this nutrition utopia is probably not a reality.
I see it all the time. It's sad, really, because here are some of the things I've heard:
"If you can't eat organic you may as well be eating ________ (insert fast food joint here)."
"Eating eggs is like smoking cigarettes. It'll kill you. You should only be 100% vegan."
"Eating meat destroys the planet."
"You have to eat ______ (insert your least favorite vegetable here) or you can't be healthy."
"Smoothies for breakfast are the pillar of healthy lifestyle."
Sounds really motivating, right? Geez! Hearing this stuff even makes me want to run in the opposite direction. Now when I come across those types of comments I simply smile and move on. I recognize that life is meant to be enjoyed, and a big part of that is enjoying good food. We are meant to nourish our bodies well. However, the stress we feel over food can be just as bad for our health as any less than ideal food choices.
Instead of viewing nutrition as all or nothing I encourage you to take a different approach. I teach my clients this saying, "Do the best you can, whenever you can, as often as you can." If you are able to eat organic that is definitely the better choice. However, eating conventional produce is not equivalent to eating a highly processed cheese burger and fries so don't make it out to be. There shouldn't be any shame in purchasing conventional produce if that is what is available to you.
And about that cheeseburger and fries -- I believe there is a place for that in life as well!! Again, it's not all or nothing.
Where I've witnessed the most long term success is with women who gradually make changes instead of trying to do a complete overhaul overnight. It is very difficult to try to upend everything about the way you eat in a few days. It's too easy to slip back into old habits when life gets stressful. When gradual changes are made the chances of making them a permanent lifestyle increase. The reality is there needs to be balance and room for flexibility.
I want to hear from you. Leave a comment!
Have you ever felt discouraged about eating better because of this all or nothing attitude? Have you felt held back because you aren't able to dive in 100%?
June 27, 2017
The Bed and Breakfast we stayed at last week was wonderful. Breakfast included pancakes, waffles, sausage, potatoes, and tons of fresh fruit. It was SO delicious and the best part? I lost three pounds!
From the time I was a teenager until most recent years, preparing for vacation meant a period of dieting. I would exercise harder and try to cut calories (I knew shockingly little about nutrition then) in order to get a flatter tummy for my trip. Once on vacation I would throw caution to the wind when it came to food and overindulge. Shortly into my trip I'd be bloated, tired and sluggish. Good times, right? Upon returning home I'd discover that I had gained a few pounds and had to work all over again to lose it. This was my pattern for years. Does it sound familiar?
When I changed my approach towards food several years ago it also changed the way I view dieting in general and how I eat when I am on vacation. This surprised me on my most recent trip because some of the foods I ate were less than stellar and I definitely indulged a little. While I didn't completely stuff myself, I certainly ate to my heart's content each morning. Lunch and dinner consisted of local fare from restaurants in the area. Some were incredible, others not so much and one in particular is definitely getting a negative mark on Trip Advisor. One thing I kept noticing was I didn't at all feel tired the entire time and my tummy was never bloated, which are two common areas of struggle, especially for women.
As I reflected on what I was doing differently and what I might be doing right I came up with a few tips to share with you. These go beyond the "pack healthy snack options" tips.
How To Eat on Vacation:
- It begins at HOME. It's what you do most of the time that matters. This is why I encourage you to make the absolute best choices when preparing food in your own kitchen where you have complete control. You control the oils used, the amount of sugar, the quality of the meats and produce, etc. It's important to take advantage of these times to keep your gut health strong and your immune system strong. This way when in situations, such as vacation, where you don't have 100% control over the food it won't completely derail you because you have a solid foundation.
- Stay hydrated! It's so easy to get dehydrated, especially when traveling. Add to that the hot summer months and it's no wonder we have trouble keeping our bodies adequately nourished with water. Carry water with you wherever you go. I keep a stainless water bottle with me at all times. To keep it full I carry a gallon jug of water so I can refill my bottle as needed. Where I was staying this particular trip I was able to fill my gallon jug of water with fresh, clean water. However, you could just as easily run to your local grocery store and purchase a gallon jug of water for under $1.00. Even if you're only slightly dehydrated your body can mistake that signal for hunger so keep your water bottle full and drink up!
- Don't overthink it. What happens when you sit down with your menu at a restaurant? Do you order the first thing that pops out at you or do you mull over what you "should" be eating and what you want to eat? It may sound counter productive but I recommend you order the first thing that jumps out at you on the menu. Note: If you eat in restaurants on a fairly regular basis this same rule would not necessarily apply. Oftentimes the stress we create for ourselves around food is worse for our bodies than the food itself. The more research I do and the more time I spend with my private coaching clients the more convinced I'm becoming that stress is our number one enemy when it comes to not looking and feeling our best. SO make a decision from the menu, eat slowly, enjoy every bite and then put it out of your mind. This means no regrets! Don't stress over what you just ate and that you should have gotten something else. This is negative self talk and it does nothing to serve your body. *Interesting that I am gluten intolerant. However, I ate gluten a few times on my trip with this no stress mentality and didn't suffer negative consequences. Just food for thought.
- Stress Free. Vacation can be such a wonderful time to get away from the norm and relax. I know for me I felt so carefree on this recent vacation. At home there is always something for me to be doing and being able to take a few days to slow down was wonderful for my soul. One of the biggest observations I made while on this trip was that I actually got to sit down and eat! I coach my clients on the importance of being in a stress free state when eating. Don't eat at your desk, don't eat standing up or while rushing out the door. Even for a snack take ten minutes to step away and enjoy it. Unfortunately, I can be my own worst enemy because I often find myself standing at my kitchen counter eating or getting up and down from the table during meal time. I know all you mothers know exactly what I'm talking about here! Caring for our families often means we throw ourselves on the back burner. Take advantage of the lower stress times of vacation and sit down to your meal. When in a restaurant, really enjoy that you have no kitchen work to do in the moment. Eating while stressed can negatively impact our digestion so allow vacation to work for you in this way.
Focus on Digestion! Eat slowly. Chew your food well. Put your fork down between each bite. Digestion begins in the brain as we start thinking about the food. Then moves to the mouth and most people don't chew long enough or slow enough placing a heavy burden on their digestive tract. What does this lead to? Bloating, gas, discomfort, etc. So it's important to eat slowly and chew your food well. This also allows you to recognize when you are full so you can stop eating. One reason people overeat is they eat too quickly and the brain doesn't have time to catch up to the stomach. Basically, you think you're still hungry but you're not. Try chewing slower and eating slower in general. You might be surprised how much less you eat at each meal and you're less likely to end up overstuffed. SLOW DOWN. It's vacation so
t a k e your T I M E and ENJOY!
May 16, 2017
What if I told you that how you looked was 90% nutrition and 10% exercise?
Someone told me that once and at the time I really didn't want to believe it. After all, we were standing in my Mother's kitchen and at that exact moment there was a box of Girl Scout cookies waiting to be devoured (Hello, Thin Mints!). However, over the years I've come to learn the truth of that statement.
You can't exercise yourself out of poor nutrition. When we are young we have an easier time at maintaining a fit body while indulging in less than stellar food choices. As we age that becomes much harder to do. Also, it's important to remember that how you look is only the surface of it all nutrition affects our outside appearance but more importantly it affects our internal workings and organs. Our outside appearance isn't necessarily an accurate depiction of what's going on inside our bodies.
My freshman year of college I had the fortunate blessing of making friends with a few girls who were as fit conscious as me. They loved to workout and so did I. The three of us got up every morning at 5 am and went to the college gym together. We'd also go for afternoon runs. This amount of exercise was nothing new for me. I'd been in the gym since I was in the 8th grade, lifting weights and running. However, what did change for me were my eating habits.
These two girls were more conscious of what they put in their bodies than I was. Since we were all together I quickly followed suit. The results? Well you know the old saying "the freshman 15"? Instead of gaining 15 pounds my freshman year of college, I lost 15 pounds. I was literally in the best shape I'd ever been in and looked much better than I did in high school. It wasn't exercise that changed for me, it was my diet.
Three years ago when my cystic acne came back with a full on vengeance I learned the truth of this statement once again. Nothing externally worked. My acne didn't begin to clear until I changed the way I ate.
How do you look and feel? Do you reward a great workout session with food indulgences? Are you exercising your heart out but not seeing the results you desire?
I encourage you to show up for yourself and feed your body well!
Not sure how to do that? Let me help you. You deserve to look and feel your best!
March 31, 2017
What raises your blood sugar levels more? Whole wheat bread or table sugar? Read on to find out.
"I could never go gluten free. I like bread too much."
"I've tried gluten free bread and I can't stand the taste."
"It's too hard to eat in a restaurant if you don't eat gluten."
"I don't have a gluten intolerance. I never have to run to the bathroom when I eat it."
Do any of these sound familiar?! These are among the top comments I hear when discussing gluten. There's a lot of buzz out there among the word gluten and there seem to be three camps of people: Those who are gluten free and are completely sold that it's improved their health, those who feel it's fine for other people to be gluten free but it's not for them, and lastly, those who believe that gluten free is a trend and will soon die out.
What is the truth? Is gluten bad for your health? If you're not intolerant should you be eating it?
I first discovered the concept of a gluten free diet when I read the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. This book opened my eyes to an entirely new concept and much of what he wrote seemed to be written directly for me.
A few things I learned:
- The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our grandmother's ate.
- Even if you have a seemingly perfect diet, you may still hold on to body fat if wheat is in your diet.
- Wheat is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet. There are other grains containing gluten but as a general rule we consume those much less frequently.
- Whole wheat bread increases blood sugar as much or more than table sugar.
This last one was a real eye opener for me. I've had blood sugar issues my whole life. It's one reason it's hard for me to ever feel full for long. Up to this point, wheat made up a large part of my diet. I consumed pastas and breads without thinking twice. I exercised really hard so I figured, why not? After reading this book I learned exactly why not. I chose to remove gluten from my diet to see if there was some truth behind what I'd read. At this time I really didn't understand all the in's and out's of gluten. I now know that I had not removed 100% like I thought I had. Despite this, I still lost some weight, my tummy was flatter, and my blood sugar levels were much more stable than they'd ever been.
Of course, it was difficult living without gluten so this new lifestyle quickly dwindled and I went back to my old habits. Until I experienced a great loss
in my life, which spurred on my cystic acne (which I had fought off and on since my teen years). When creams and face washes weren't doing the trick I decided to take a more holistic option. I began researching on the internet what worked for other women with adult acne. A common theme kept recurring; Remove gluten and dairy from your diet as the first step.
I battled and struggled with this. I remembered how great I'd felt when I gave up gluten before, but truth be told I didn't want to do it again. It was too difficult. It was easier to eat in a restaurant if I was able to eat gluten. I didn't really have a problem with gluten, right?! There can't be that much truth to this idea. Long story short, I went back and forth A LOT before I finally realized I wasn't doing myself any favors and cut gluten from my diet 100%. No longer was I allowing a once a week treat of regular bread or cutting myself slack when eating out. I realized to see the changes I wanted it had to be all or nothing.
Here is the truth about identifying food intolerance and identifying foods that cause inflammation in your body. After all, too much inflammation in the body is where illness begins. If you want to know if eliminating gluten will make a difference for you, you have to completely eliminate it 100% no exceptions. The length of time you do this for really depends on your symptoms. If you have acne, eczema, rosacea or any other skin ailments then the longer the better. My acne clients do it for six straight months. If you're having GI discomfort you may notice a difference within a few days.
Here are other symptoms related to gluten intolerance:
- Brain fog
- ADHD like behavior
- Bone or Joint Pain
You can read more about it here: Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity
For some clarification, a gluten intolerance can exist even if you don't have Celiac disease or another type of autoimmune disorder. The problem with the bread of our grocery shelves today is it was made to be shelf stable. This equals a higher gluten content. Also, when you see the word "Enriched" on a label it often means "deprived of nutrients." Enriched means some of the nutrients that cause the food to spoil faster have been removed and replaced with chemical ingredients so the food will be shelf stable. (Dr. Sear's, The Inflammation Solution
Does cutting gluten from your diet seem scary or unmanageable or simply something you just really don't want to do? I get it. I once felt the same way. It's important to remember that you can always introduce back into your diet. If you eliminate if for two weeks and feel zero changes, start eating it again!
I highly encourage you to give this a try!
Tell me, have you ever eliminated or considered eliminating gluten from your diet?