What the Health and the Keto Controversy

What the Health and the Keto Controversy - making sense of two very different lifestyles and how to make better diet and lifestyle choices

With the recent release of What the Health, aka “The Health Film That Health Organizations Don’t Want You To See,” healthy eating by way of veganism has experienced a rise in attention, specifically within certain social circles and demographics (Netflix is the primary viewing venue).

Friend groups and communities are atwitter over the science and positions explored in the film, and the conversations have incensed many due to the data revealed and what it means to their lifestyle choices or because of the confusion and frustration generated by trying to apply yet another batch of science and expert opinions to an already mixed bag of seemingly conflicting information in the world of health and wellness.

In this post, we explore two primary at-odds lifestyles and offer perspectives and guidance to empower you to follow the path that best suits you. 

First, What The Health!? and Veganism

Veganism, or the practice of eating only non-animal products, has, for years, been touted as a surefire way to lose weight, lower cholesterol and slow aging. In the Middle and Far East, for centuries, practicing veganism is common due to the moral, ethical, and spiritual pillar of the regions to “do no harm.”

Domestically, many celebrities, doctors and industrial leaders have emerged as vegans, and we, the viewing public, have observed the benefits of the vegan lifestyle as they unfolded in that individual’s life as documented through the lens of the camera, social media, USA Today, etc..

All indications point to veganism is The Way!

Here’s where it gets controversial.

Despite these incredible success stories that we’ve seen with our own eyes and the scientific findings cited by vocal vegans and What The Health, arguments that favor the veganism movement can be disproven by other science, research, medical and scientific journals and health experts.

Case in point, the ketogenic lifestyle.

Keto.

As we discussed earlier this month, is a diet globally recognized for centuries for its anti-aging, disease reversing, cancer preventing benefits (among other heroics). The foundation of the keto lifestyle includes a certain cadence of eating, which simulates fasting and subsequent benefits,  and a diet comprised of a high ratio of protein and fats and lower percentage of calories from carbohydrates than the Standard American Diet (SAD, an acronym that is both entertaining and accurate).

Modified keto, for example, may include a diet of 60-70% of calories derived from protein and fats (including saturated and unsaturated) with only 30% or less of calories derived from complex carbohydrates (i.e nothing processed and no sugar). Some keto’ers also shy away from grains, beans, soy, corn, etc., due to the high carbohydrate content and effect on blood sugar, which throws the individual out of a ketosis state, thus undoing the chemistry that yields the incredible benefits.

Protein and fat sources for many followers of the keto diet include animal products, yet, due to the individual’s unique metabolic make-up and how the individual metabolizes carbohydrates using insulin, many keto’ers base a large portion of the diet on plant-based eating, i.e. vegetable-heavy.

It’s Getting Hot in Here.

The conundrum we face are two very different diets, both of which tout health benefits. One is entirely animal-product free, and the other – in many cases – promotes the consumption of high-quality animal products.

You can see how these two dynamics are at odds with one another, and how the confusion and overwhelm accompanying the effort to make sense of them as a consumer can be significant!

Layer on top of any confusion the emotional charge we inject into our relationship with food and the deep ties to our identity that develop in relation to our food choices, lifestyle and the ethics, beliefs and mores therein, and you’ve got a hot button topic that triggers some internal moral dilemmas and very passionate discussions.

What’s Our Take?

As far as we’re concerned, any catalyst, be it a conversation, documentary, book, article, Ted Talk, etc. that activates an authentic, respectful conversation among communities and an inward assessment of one’s health, lifestyle and holistic wellness is a good thing.

Any proponent of a whole food, clean-eating, know-where-your-food-comes-from way of life? Also, a good thing.

Any wake-up call to ask deeper questions, fuel optimal wellness and make intentional, mindful choices? DEFINITELY a GREAT thing.

If you find yourself curious, or even enraged, by What The Health or Keto, and the science, ethics, or the arguments of each, then consider it your wake-up call.

Lean into this conversation vs. throwing in the towel. Casually explore various diets and lifestyles, and shift your mindset into thinking of it as a fun exploration. How you’ve eaten in the past may not be where you want to go in the future, and that doesn’t mean you’ve been fooled or failed! It means you now have different information you’re using to perhaps make different choices.

How to truly know what is best for YOU?

Some people’s constitution and metabolisms need higher levels of protein and fat and opt to include animal products as a manner to supplement those needs. Others have food allergies that preclude them from going all-in on a certain way of eating. Other people’s ethical beliefs trump all else, and they opt to forgo animal products or other food groups.

Every body is different, and therefore, every diet must be different, even if slightly, and that’s OK.

Select one of the diets or lifestyles that have caught your attention or that most closely aligns with you, and test it out for three to six months. Changes take time. Observe your energy levels, food cravings, blood work numbers, fit of your clothes, joint flexibility, mental clarity, emotional resilience and tolerance as indications that you’re on the right track or need to adjust your approach.

The Bottom Line

There is no one diet that – when followed identically across a population without some level of modification – is right for everyone.

Do what is best for you! Take what you can from the diets and lifestyles that you explore, apply them to yourself, observe the results over time and modify where needed. Speak kindly to yourself as you explore a new way of eating. Stay open to the experience and share what you observe with your friends and family; get them in on it, and support one another on your unique journeys to your best selves!

As always, we love hearing from you! Drop us a line to let us know which diet or lifestyle impassions you, how you found your way to better health and we’ll cheer you on! A rising tide lifts all ships, and our community is on the rise with you!

Wishing you a life of greens and grace and all the goodness!

Nine Low-Effort Ways to Better Your Health

These nine little- or no-effort habits create better health without added effort. Health is as much about "adding in" better options as it is "cutting out" the old habits that are no longer serving you. From upgrading your comfort foods and boxes, bagged and bottled snacks to gentle lifestyle shifts, these simple, small changes will add up to significant health improvements over time.

choose a better breakfast, cut out sugar, kick sugar, sugar free, no carbs, low carb, cinnamon sugar buns, better breakfast

Choose a Better Breakfast

Sugar buns, PopTarts, regular yogurt and instant oatmeal are low in nutrition and set you up for sugar cravings and energy roller coasters later in the day. Instead, choose a breakfast that fuels you with a blend of fiber, protein and fat. Try steel cut or old-fashioned oats, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, or Gluten-free Protein Pancakes for more nutrients for a longer-lasting energy!

Drink One Glass of Water for Every Coffee or Cocktail

Coffee and cocktails are dehydrating; to keep your skin, joints, and brain hydrated, drink one glass of water for every caffeinated bev (including soda), beer, wine or cocktail you enjoy! 

caffeinate, hydrate - drink a glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume
get the veggies and the french fries. eat the veggies first

Get a Side of Veggies and the Fries

Order a salad or steamed veggie as your side along with the fries. Yes, it may cost you a few dollars more, but your body and brain will thank you. Eat the veggies first, and in time, you'll find you're eating fewer fries and making better choices! 

Order your Sandwich as a Salad

Adding in veggies and a salad can be as easy as getting that BLT or Turkey & Swiss as a salad. Healthy choices can be chock full of flavor and enjoyment, too! Keep what you love, and make a few tweaks here and there, so you reap more benefits from what you're already doing. 

Turn your sandwich into a salad by skipping the bread
get protein at every meal, even an egg as a snack or lunch

Get Protein at Every Meal 

Protein keeps you full, gives your body a key component of building healthy cells and balances blood sugar. Steer clear of a meal entirely of carbs, like a peanut butter and jelly with a side of potato chips, and choose tuna or chicken salad, or keep the PBJ and choose sprouted grain bread over white and add in a hard-boiled egg as a side. 

Favor Healthy Fats 

As you know after reading about Keto, fats are key for longevity and feeling good today. Rather than looking towards fried foods for fats, stick with nuts and seeds, avocado, cage free eggs, clean (unprocessed) meats, and oils, such as sesame, olive, avocado, sunflower, and coconut! Experiment with cooking and concocting your own salad dressings, too! It's fast, fun, and gives your salad or sandwich a little extra love!

favor healthy fats over fried foods and experiment with nuts, seeds, oil, avocado and even fish oil to get a slew of health benefits
savor the moments, enjoy the water, dance in the rain

Savor the Moments 

How often we get lost in the news reel notifications on our phone or our social feeds and miss out on the moments with friends and family (or sleep!). Instead of a connected-device coma, try being present in the moment. Actively listen to those around you. Take in your surroundings, sights, smells, and sensations. Savor the experience, even those that are unpleasant or downright painful. There are meaningful moments among the mire, and the time you have today will flit and float by. By paying attention, you live life more fully.

Take Twenty

Practicing guitar, coloring, journaling, breathing, sipping tea, walking, doing yoga, meditating. Whatever makes your soul sing, take twenty minutes every day and do it! Studies have shown that "indulging" in a hobby or a quiet time activity we enjoy benefits your whole body, including your nervous system and brain. Taking time to feed your spirit is as critical to your well-being as eating well!

take time to do something you enjoy every day
hug a friend every day, even if that friend is furry.

Hug it Out!

Hugs, as well as snuggle time with furry friends, have been shown to lower stress levels, increase immunity, and boost happiness! Phone a friend and having a few moments of connection if you can't wrap your arms around the person. It's amazing how much of our optimal well-being extends beyond our plate! 

We love hearing from you on the simple changes you make in your diet and lifestyle that add up! Let us know your favorites of ours and share your own by leaving a comment below! 

Goes-With-Everything Peachiarry Compote

peach, chia, berry compote - perfect for dessert, breakfast, and dinner

The perfect complement to just about everything from chia seed pudding to biscuits, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, salmon, chicken is our Peachiarry Compote! This delicious blend of peaches, chia seeds, and raspberry (ahem, “peachiarry”) with just a tad of natural sweetener adds flavor and tang and rounds out any dinner, side dish or dessert. It’s low-glycemic-index, particularly if you use stevia or monk fruit, gluten-free, dairy-free, and freezable.

Our favorite part about this recipe? It takes just minutes in the kitchen to prepare, it’s full of superfoods, like chia seeds, and the leftovers taste even better than on the first day!

Try it at your next soiree!

Print

Peachiarry Compote

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cans sliced peaches in pear juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 tbsp natural sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Drain most of the juice from the cans of peaches, leaving a few tablespoons of liquid.

  2. Stir peaches, juice, raspberries, chia seeds and sweetener together in a bowl.

  3. Let sit for ~10 minutes until chia seeds form a gel around them.

  4. Top dish or dessert, and serve!

We love hearing how you take these delicious, gluten-free recipes and make them your own! Tag us in your social post of your Peachiarry reveal, so we can see your creative and healthy choices!

Surprising Lifestyle Tip for Anti-Aging

Iris Apfel by One Kings Lane

Photo Cred of the one and only Iris Apfel: One Kings Lane

Want to glide into – and through – your sunset years without the unpleasantries we all assume will come with the aging process? Don’t we all!

What if I told you that a secret to great health benefits not only today, but also down the road has nothing to do with what you eat? It’s true!

Living with a sense of purpose and bringing it into your daily routine results in successful aging!

Here’s the scoop: A research study published in the journal Development Psychology reveals that the benefits of living with a sense of purpose include reduced depression, improved overall mental state, and increases indicators of successful aging. (In this context, successful aging means you are physically healthy and functioning, you’ve got your wits about you (no mental deterioration) and can move around, and you build and maintain social relationships and activities)(Psychology Today).

In short, purposeful living contributes to health and well-being both now and when you’re 80.

I don’t know about you, but I would love to age gracefully and with ease! I’d love to look, act and feel as young as possible for as long as possible with minimal chemical or cosmetic treatments while also living in overall bliss for all of my days. Even better if I can get started now! Sign me up! Wouldn’t you agree?

So, how do we do it?

Defining Your Sense of Purpose

For our discussion, I’ve defined Sense of Purpose below after a Google search left me unsatisfied.

Sense of purpose: the reason for being; the pursuit or expression of which makes you come alive. Innate gifts that you alone can offer to the world, fueled with heartfelt passion.

Ask yourself, your family, your friends, “over my lifetime, when do I seem to be my best self? What am I doing at these times? What activities or pursuits ignites my inner joy and energy? What natural talents do I seem to have that I enjoy pursuing and practicing?”

Make a list. Take time to hone in on what your sense of purpose could look like.

Then what?

After you’ve gotten clear on your purpose, bring it into your life on a regular basis.

Look at your job responsibilities and duties or where you spend your time socially and in your “off” hours.

Where are there opportunities to infuse your purpose into the seemingly mundane?

For instance, if you are creative, look for ways to create presentations or other communications collateral. Layout or design tips add flair, which differentiate you and your company from competition in the marketplace.

Make the business case to your boss to get involved, or just start volunteering to help.

Can’t find the time during the workday to put your passion at play at the office? Have you tried delegating?

Check out this post for tips to create time and bandwidth. Make the business case for why your unique skills and strategy (aka, applying your sense of purpose) will benefit the team, Client or company. Cite increases to business efficiency, employee satisfaction, team moral or motivation, Client retention, etc. to help bolster your argument… 

… or just start doing it! Delegate where appropriate, and get involved.

Fortune favors the bold, and you have unique gifts and talents to bring to the world.

If you can’t get the buy-in at work, volunteer outside of work to put your passion to use for a non-profit, small business or community organization. You may even be able to get paid for it!  

In the words of Eminem, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance… This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

This one wild and precious life you lead is The Opportunity for you to express and pursue your sense of purpose!

The health benefits to your body + mind are compelling, and it is your responsibility to share your unique goodness with the world like no one else can!

Small or large, start infusing that sense of purpose into your life. There’s no better time than NOW.

 

If you have a friend who might be hiding her (or his!) unique brand of goodness, afraid or unsure to let it out, share this post with him or her.

A rising tide lifts all ships, and we love to hear how you bring this conversation to life! Let us know how you’re bringing your sense of purpose to your day-to-day or how you’ve been inspired by someone you know who does it well by leaving a comment below.

As always, wishing you a life of greens and grace, my friends!

 

What to Do and What to Eat for More Energy

eat for more energy, how to eat for more energy, sleeping man with feet

Let’s talk about the energy crisis. No, I don’t mean the one that the UN tackles on the reg, but yours; that lag in the late morning or mid-afternoon where you’d like nothing more than to crawl under your desk or hide out in the back seat of your car to catch some Zzz’s.

You know that brain fog and general “meh” that hits you at the lulls in the day is a factor of your nutrition, your sleep habits, and your overall health and lifestyle, right? Of course you do. Well, share that secret with some of your friends because most people – 76 percent of workers, actually – feel tired many days of the week, and get this, 15 percent even fall asleep during the day at least once a week (huffpo.com)!

Yikes.

Let’s assume that these friends of yours, the ones among the 76%, need you to help them out and share your wisdom on how to stay alert, feel more energized (without the jet fuel known as energy drinks) and overall feel better. What would you say? Here are a few tips you can crib to help them get their luster back!

WHAT TO DO FOR LASTING ENERGY ALL DAY

Eliminate processed foods (breads, tortillas, pastas, bagels, etc.)

Bid sayonara to sugar & read labels to see where hidden sugar can surprise you, e.g. spaghetti sauce, salsa, coffee creamer, milk…

Exercise. Experiment with morning, lunchtime or evening workouts and which works best for you.

Avoid caffeine past 2PM. This one is going to hit some folks pretty hard, especially if they’re one of those who actually should cut it off after noon. Try what works for you and be ready for a few days/weeks of withdrawal and adaptation. Don’t fall off the wagon. Your adrenals, your sleep quality and your mental health will thank you.

End your shower every morning with 30+ seconds of cold water. Aye caramba!

WHAT TO EAT

Eating for optimal health is not a sprint, but a marathon, and it’s the small, consistent changes that yield the best results. The recommended foods below will help you gain more energy, better skin, clearer thinking and all those other unicorns we seek in our healthy lifestyles, but it’s up to you to listen to your body and tailor your meals to what YOU need.

This is the step we often skip in the search for the quick fix.

For lasting results, learn to make peace with your body, listen to what it needs and choose wisely.  Got it? Good! Now check out these superfoods that’ll give you wings!

 

Whole Grains

  • Non-instant rices (like brown, black, red), kasha, steel cut oats and others for breakfast, lunch and dinner are good for every meal.
  • Try one serving per main meal and see how you feel. Adjust as you need.

Protein

  • Organic and as clean as possible, including eggs and milk.
  • Get protein at each meal & listen to your body; some days you’ll need more than other days.
  • If you’re craving sugar, eat protein and fat, not carbs and sugar (regardless of that crazy craving!)

Fats

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Adhere to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen (found here)
  • Stick with low glycemic fruits and reach for fruit instead of candy or sweets. In other words, skip the bananas and go for melon and berries when the Snickers calls your name. Eat some peanuts with it, and breathe through the craving.
  • Eat as many vegetables as you can as often as you can. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Crowd out those other energy zapping foods for energizing options, like raw, roasted or sautéed veggies!

 

Hungry for more?

Check out these ideas on energizing healthy snacks, road trip snacks, and what to shop for in the grocery store.

We love to hear your stories of how you share your healthy living habits with those around you and make any of our recommendations your own! Share your story with us on social media or by leaving a comment below!

 

Wishing you Greens, Grace & Gluten Free Living, my Friends!

 

Stopping the Shame Game.

Each of us is awesome. Body shaming and comparing ourselves to one another is not necessary.

I got very stirred up while listening to E! News yesterday.

In discussing a recent Instagram post by Paris Jackson in which she was pictured almost nude and, as a result, subsequently received body-shaming comments online, Catt Sadler (one of the hosts) mused that she could not understand how people could body shame Ms. Paris because she has a beautiful body.

It was at this point that I had to change the channel lest I start arguing with the TV while on the elliptical machine and be removed from the gym. (The irony that I was at the gym while hearing this was not lost on me.)

By no means do I believe that Ms. Sadler was intimating that body shaming of anyone is acceptable; however it got me thinking about how easily we criticize one another, particularly around our outward appearances.

Body shaming, or any shaming of any sort, directed at any human being, is a counterproductive, negative practice that only ensures the race to the bottom of civilized society as we know it. Regardless of the body shape, size or style of the recipient, is it not, by now, an outdated practice that we would all like to see discontinued?

Shame is a scare tactic, not a technique for lasting, positive change.  Click to tweet.

To stop these unhealthy, harmful practices, we can do a few things, but first, we must let go of the belief that our outward appearance – and the exhausting practice of ensuring ageless perfection at all times – is our primary source of worth, value or beauty.

Once we acknowledge that we are more than the skin we’re in, we can begin speaking to ourselves with more kindness and grace and encouraging our daughters, friends and yes, even the men in our families and communities to, instead, see and elevate the true beauty within us all. Regardless of age, shape, gender or race, each of us is a gift to our families, communities and organizations, and to truly lift up these institutions to reach a fuller potential, we must start by building each other up as individuals, and that means stopping with the shame game.

If you have a friend, colleague or family member who could use a dose of positive feedback, take a moment and send them a quick note or share this post. Both of you will be better for it! 

We’d love to hear what’s working in your world that helps stop the shame game and gets the conversation going in a different – and more positive – direction! 

Part Two: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions and *Be Successful*! | How-To’s for Long-Term Success

Silhouette of people jumping in front of the sunset on a beach
photo cred: http://lovingdancer.tumblr.com

It’s Your New Year! Happy New Year to you, and kudos for setting out to make this year your best yet!

You have undoubtedly set your Resolutions for this New Year, and if you read Part One of this series, you have already taken the most important step towards successfully achieving that Resolution in 2017 and beyond!

Now what?

Using the following six tips, you will align your actions with your intention to achieve your Resolution for satisfying results. So, let’s harness the momentum you’ve already gathered, and get you going on creating lasting change in your life!

  1. Be realistic with your goals… then stretch!
    Set time-bound, achievable goals, then set a stretch goal to push yourself. Even if you don’t hit your stretch goal, you will very likely outperform your initial goal!
  2. Break down your goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities that will lead to your success.
    Think through the activities that would lead to your success on a smaller scale. Setting smaller goals that ladder up to the larger success, such as planning weekly for a six-month weight loss goal, allow you to make progress towards your goal every day, week and month; before you know it, these new practices will be your regular routine, and you’ll see success every step of the way!
  3. Plan to work, and work your plan.
    Once you break down your goal into smaller pieces, you’re on your way! Prepare your daily, weekly, monthly plans in advance and think through what may create obstacles along the way, so you can have a successful strategy in mind to overcome them.For instance, perhaps before today, you used to fall into the pattern of losing yourself in social media before bed, which kept you up too late, made you oversleep, and left you tired the next day. Now, you’ve realized that going to bed early is more important to you; now, you’ll adjust accordingly if you find yourself on a digital scavenger hunt throughout the interwebs!Here’s a life hack to help you work your plan: Set uplifting reminders on your phone or put post-it notes in highly visible locations in your home, office and car.When the reminder “goes off,” you’ll be reminded of your motivation behind the goal, the goal itself and your ability to succeed.

    For example, some ideas are: “I am sticking with my goal of saving money this year, so I can travel and see the world, and I believe in my ability to succeed,” or “I choose healthier habits, so I can walk my daughter down the aisle and be around for my grandkids. I am worth the effort, and I believe in my ability to succeed”

  4. Measure, measure, measure.
    Without measuring your progress along the way, how will you know how far you’ve come? Measuring keeps you informed and empowered, and it’s not just about if you’re measuring up.Measuring offers learnings around how realistic the goal was initially and how best to devote your time and energy for the best results (i.e. if during month two you tried different activities than during month one, and you saw better results, you know to keep putting your energies into those things. If you didn’t see better results, you know to try something different).
  5. Rally your support system and let them know specific ways they can support you.
    Changing your thinking and behavior is no small feat, and undertaking the journey that accompanies doing things differently takes courage and resilience and support. Changes in your life affect the people in your life, as well as yourself. Letting them know of the changes you’re excited to make, as well as what to expect and how they can help you, will eliminate awkward situations or miscommunications because expectations will have been set and managed.Also, if along the way, you feel like you aren’t as far along as you were hoping, the emotional support and empathy that those who care about you can provide does wonders for boosting your spirit and resilience in your pursuit of your goal.
  6. Recognize and celebrate your wins – large and small!
    It really cannot be understated; making change is a brave and courageous undertaking. Particularly changing yourself. Applaud yourself for taking on the challenge of making positive change in your life, and give yourself the kudos you deserve from the Big Milestone Wins to the seemingly Small Wins, like each and every time you fall down and get back up. Recognize and reward your successes and stick with it! Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating the greatest win of all – achieving your 2017 New Year’s Resolution!

Peace, Love, and Cheers to Your Brightest Year yet!

Part One: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions and *Be Successful*! | Getting Clear on Your Resolution

Lighthouse with beacon of light shining across the sea
photo cred: dailyalts.com

New Year, New You! It’s that time again; a new year, a new beginning. A time of looking back and looking ahead. A time when we take stock of who we are today and what we hope to achieve, who we want to become in the coming year, then we set our resolutions to pave our way.

The process is energizing and motivating, full of promise, and opportunity! We have a clean slate! We feel inspired and activated and are confident we can achieve our goals! We can be this newer, better version of our already wonderful self! We can achieve these goals! …and then February or March hits, annnd we forget about that “old” Resolution because we’ve slipped into old, familiar patterns or found other outlets for our time and energy that seem a higher priority in that immediate moment. Before we know it, we have fallen off-track and vow to try again next year.

However… What if we don’t have to follow this pattern in 2017? What if we can be more successful? I believe we can.

In this two-part post, we’ll start with reframing how we set our Resolutions and then get into the How-To’s to stick with them for lasting results.

So, let’s get going!

First off, a new way of reframing resolutions.

Resolutions, first and foremost, are goals. Usually lofty goals that we set for ourselves in a variety of areas of our lives. Health, fitness, finance, family, career, spirituality. We sense a gap between who we are and who we want to be, that bourgeoning better version waiting to emerge, and we devise goals to help us bridge the gap.

Simply put, we:

  1. Feel like there’s something more (or something different) that we could be doing with our time, energy, skills and talents
  2. Believe the end result will be rewarding in some way (usually, at its core, we believe it will bring an emotional reward, a way to feel better)
  3. Set intentions to bring this end result to pass

While all of these are well and good to informing personal transformation and growth, a key step we often miss is a hearty and true understanding of why we want to pursue these goals (step 2). We must be deeply truthful with ourselves about our motivations. For instance, losing weight because your wife or doctor wants you to – as important as those factors are – won’t cut it when you bump up against years or decades of long-held habits and beliefs. Action and success are a result of desires and motivations that reside deep within you.

Naming these motivating factors is so important to personal growth and to sticking to your Resolution throughout the year and beyond to achieve lasting change. Naming these factors gives them meaning and signals to your brain and your being to align your choices and actions in an intentional way and to be purposeful with your time, energy, money, words, behaviors.

To honor your Resolution, your intention, for the next year – and beyond! – you must be intentional, and to do so, the motivation behind that intention has to be strong enough to catapult you through and beyond any challenge that might stand in your way, which is why the motivation has to come from deep within you.

This step of naming is the most important of all the How To’s, so take a pause and spend a moment with yourself to get clear on why you’re setting this Resolution for yourself. Write down your Resolution and the Why’s behind it. Studies show that simply writing down your goal gives you a 42% better chance of achieving them! If you take away nothing else from this post, just write down your goal! You don’t have to share it with anyone or post it online; it is for you. Simply write it down for yourself.

As you’ll see in Part Two, writing down your goal will play into other Tips and Tricks for staying on the wagon.

For now, take a pause on New Year’s Eve and write yourself a note. Include your Resolution and why it is important to you to stay on track and be successful. Why does it matter to you?

In Part Two, the six How To’s of sticking to your Resolution are laid out. Once you’re clear on your intention, the supporting structure of these six steps will keep you on track throughout 2017 and beyond!

As always, we love your feedback and thoughts, so leave us a comment below!

May 2017 be your best, brightest, healthiest, and most successful year yet!

Five Tricks for Outsmarting Office Sweets & Treats

file_000-2Birthdays. Client dinners. Corporate Announcements. Lunch meetings. Vendor treats. National Donut Day. National Sundae Day… Sheesh! How often we get surprised by sweets at the office! (And we’re approaching on Holiday Season – oy vey!)

From your wellness to your waistline, indulging every time one of these “special” events pops up derails you from your goals, detracts from your results, and decreases your motivation.

Here are few tricks and techniques to help you sidestep office sweets and treats and stay the course to your most vibrant self!

  1. Eat enough protein (& early enough in the day).
    • Getting sufficient protein early enough in the day and throughout the day will keep your blood sugar stable,  your energy level even, your mind focused, and your resolve strong, so you can more easily say no to the simple sugar rushes of cookies and cupcakes.
    • Experiment with the amounts of protein in your snacks and meals to figure out which keep you satisfied and powered up for the day.
    • For a few ideas for balanced snacks, check out this post about tasty snacks that pack in protein without breaking the bank! (There are also a few other tips in there to help manage sugar cravings and blood sugar.)
  2. Keep fresh and/or dried fruit (or dark chocolate!) at your fingertips.
    • When you get a hankering for sweets, having a naturally-sweetened “goodie” will offer you an alternative to the processed one, so you can stay on track when the sugar monster strikes
    • You can also keep a few pieces of very dark chocolate nearby; the higher the cacao, the less sugar it contains and the more rich and satisfying it will be; aim for 70% cacao or higher.
  3. Exercise as close to daily as possible.
    • If you’re putting in the work (and workin’ it!) on a daily basis (or as close to daily as you can), you’ll be less likely to let even a minor temptation knock you off your game
    • Remember the work you’ve been doing and ask if it’s really worth it to indulge in that cupcake.
  4. Set the timer.
    • Cravings last fewer than five minutes (usually about three). When the craving strikes (or the donuts/cupcakes/red velvet cake appears on the breakroom table), take a walk, make a cup of coffee or tea and sip it slowly, take a Twitter break and read positive news that delights you, doodle in your notebook, journal your feelings, talk to a coworker, etc.
    • Devote your attention away from the “trigger” for a good 3-5 minutes. Breathe. Repeat.
  5. Tune in.
    • When you do feel a craving come on without a cake walking by, take a moment to clue yourself into what could be triggering your craving, such as stress, feeling tired or overwhelmed, etc.
    • Taking care of your mental well-being is KEY to optimal physical well-being. Unpacking why you’re craving sugar in the first place – whether physical or emotional – is a powerful tool. (See item #4 above.)
  6. *Bonus Points: Read about the havoc that sugar wreaks on your body
    • Knowledge is power, and empowering yourself with info about the impact that sugar has on your body is the strongest motivation to steer clear. For instance, did you know that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine? From accelerated aging to hormonal effects to gut imbalance, sugar is not the best copilot on the ride to better health!
    • If you have more information, you’ll make better decisions!
    • A few interesting resources that are packed with info and will also keep your interest are:

The Blood Sugar Solution, by Dr. Mark Hyman (His website is here, too.)
Sugar Coated, a documentary; found on Netflix
Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr (an all-around fave of mine for all things healthy and crazy-sexy! Her website is found here.)

A Beginner’s Grocery List for Healthy Habits

There’s something about Spring that revives enthusiasm for healthier habits, particularly around eating for vibrant, radiant health!

The sun-filled days are longer. Sundresses beckon. Bikini season is almost upon us, and of course, feeling good is important regardless of the time of year (ok, ok, bikini season is a mild motivator ;))! Like any season, though, we still only have so many hours in a day, and the biggest challenge may be eating right during the week when both time and energy wane.

The key? Keeping a well-stocked kitchen.

I have a standard grocery list of the basics that I get almost every trip, which I’d like to share with you below. Feel free to use it as a basis for creating your own list of basics that will make eating clean a quick and easy no-brainer! Although I mention organic for a few of the items, do what your budget will allow. Stressing over finances while in the frozen food section isn’t healthy for anybody, so take this list as a thought-starter, and make it your own. One helpful hint, though, is to stop on the perimeter of the grocery store for the healthiest items, with a few exceptions being the frozen food aisle for frozen fruits and veggies (which are just as healthy and nutrient-rich as fresh), and the natural food section (which, if you shop at my grocery store, is in the middle of everything – there goes the perimeter idea!) However you shop, enjoy the experience!

The SnR Basic Grocery List

  • Organic Berries.
    I use these as dessert, in smoothies and in cereal. I even like snacking on the frozen kind. Vary your colors to maximize the health benefits. An easy way to do this is by buying what’s on sale each week. Stores often rotate their promotions. Another hot tip: buy organic at Costco or Sam’s. You can get a huge bag at a great price.
  • Organic Apples + Pears.
    photo 3 (3)
    Apples! #nomnom

    I love to snack, and when you eat as many salads as I do, you need some variety. Apples and pears satisfy both!  Whether sliced with a nut/seed butter, baked as dessert, chopped and dropped into a salad, or eaten as-is, they make flavorful, crunchy additions to a meal for a surprise sweetness without too much sugar. If you’re embracing ketogenic eating or on a low-glycemic diet, tread carefully with these and the berries, too. For other tips on which fruits and veggies to buy organic, check out The Environmental Working Group’s list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

  • A Variety of Greens.
    My faves are organic spinach + baby kale blends and organic romaine. I’ll mix all of them together for a snazzy salad, or drop the spinach/kale blend into the mixer to add some superfood punch to a smoothie. Sautéed spinach and kale also add a lot to a rice bowl or taco night. (And are easy to sneak in if you have veggie-averse family members.)
  • Brown Rice + other Whole Grains.
    IMG_0285
    Rice-a-palooza!

    Where to begin! I LOVE brown rice. I eat it – and its cousins, Red, Black and Green – almost every day. From rice bowls for lunch or dinner to rice pudding for breakfast, I rely heavily on this complex carb. It’s super versatile, and you can cook a lot of it on Sunday and have a base for meals throughout the week. Mix in different sauces or salsa’s, or toss with a scrambled egg and leftover veggies, and you’ve got yourself a slew of dishes with only a little upfront effort.

  • Sweet potatoes.
    In the Varsity League of meal basics, sweet potatoes are definitely in my starting line-up. They can be a fun add-on as a hash to any dish, or roasted and used as a taco shell or base for taco salads. I’ve even been known to bake one in the microwave and eat it like an apple as my mid-morning snack. These tubers are starch, though, so if you’re on a ketogenic or low-Glycemic diet, incorporate these carefully.
  • Other Roast-Worthy Veggies.
    Roasted veggies are also a must-have for me. I love raw and sautéed, too; there is just something about roasted veggies that I can’t seem to get enough of! They are so easy and can be a great snack, side item, or main course as a base for veggie or rice bowls. My fave combo are onions, garlic (yes, garlic!), zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli. Roasting in the oven takes about 20 minutes and adds texture and color to any salad or rice bowl! The leftovers can be used in a veggie scramble the next morning or even simply as an afternoon nosh.

    photo 3 (4)
    Roast your veggies for a fun, colorful add-on to a basic pasta dish or rice bowl.
  • Clean Protein Options.
    Wherever you fall on the meat-eating scale, getting enough protein – whether animal- or plant-based – is key. I’m a pescatarian for the most part, so the majority of my protein comes from fish, eggs, and plant-based options. With any protein source, though, the key is buying the best quality you can. There are a lot of hidden ick-factors in non-organic, non-grass-fed beef, dairy, chicken and eggs, so it’s worth the splurge to trade-up to better quality.
    Since I base so much of my diet on fish, I tend to buy frozen fish, like Mahi, Ahi Tuna, Salmon and Cod, so I can freeze it and have options without making a trip to the grocery store. I may even mix it up and use shrimp or scallops! I love using the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch app to find the most sustainable sources.
    Frozen fish is easy to defrost by moving them from the freezer to the fridge when you leave for work and sautéing or broiling for an easy dinner. Make leftovers your breakfast or lunch the next day, and you’ve saved yourself the time and energy of preparing another meal!
  • Healthy Fats.
    IMG_0076
    Salads are an easy way to add in healthy fat by adding avocado or drizzling olive oil as dressing.

    My faves are olive oil, avocados, and tahini. Those of you with few restrictions in
    your diet can also enjoy a variety of raw nuts in whole grain cereal, dropped into yogurt, added into salads, or as part of your banana bread. Enjoy fat in your diet! It’s key for brain and body vibrance and overall well-being and longevity!
    I aim for 1-2 tablespoons with every meal, which is the right portion for me to feel satiated, curb sugar cravings, and see benefits to my skin. Experiment and see what works for you!

  • Spices!
    oh my goodness, spices. I LOVE them! From basil to oregano to garlic to turmeric to cinnamon to cayenne to cardamom to black pepper, I heart spices! They are an easy way to mix up a rice dish or filet to give you a variety of epicurean experiences without too much extra work. Whether fresh or dried, sprinkle it in, and you’re good to go! (Tip: If you’re using older dried spices, you’ll need about double the quantity to equal the flavor of  the fresh.)

Herbs and spices add pizzazz and variety!

Here’s the simplified list for your printing convenience; choose the items you’d like to try, and the next visit, mix in others!

SnR Basic Grocery List

Produce

  • Berries
  • Apples + pears
  • Spinach +/or kale
  • Romaine
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Avocados

Spices

  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Whatever else you like!

Oils + Butters 

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Tahini
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter

Protein

  • Eggs
  • Frozen fish (use your app to check which are best)
  • Organic, grass-fed, beef, chicken, etc

Other items

  • Brown rice
  • Black rice
  • Green rice
  • Red rice

As always, we love hearing your feedback and what works for you (or doesn’t)! Drop us a line below with your stories and tips!