What to Do and What to Eat for More Energy

how to get more energy, lifestyle tips and eating tips for more energy

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!

 

How to Grocery Shop for Gluten Free Living

gluten free grocery list, glutenfree, gluten free tips, easy gluten free, slow food atlanta

If you’ve embarked on your elimination diet and have a sense that gluten-free living may be in your best interest, you may be wondering what to do next, particularly since “going gluten-free” often evokes concerns of very restricted eating with few to no tasty, affordable options to be found. Not the case!

Making the transition to living gluten-free can actually be quite a cinch, particularly when you’re fueled with the knowledge that this new way of eating will actually help you live in your body more comfortably and with more energy and radiance than before.

Now that you’ve jumped on the bandwagon, it’s time to – quite literally – put your money where your mouth is.

Here’s how:

gluten free products, udi's baguettes, crunchmaster, three bakers, glutenfree
Some of my favorite GF substitutes copyright Sprout and Rosebud

Swap out gluten-filled favorites with gluten-free varieties and whole foods.
Choose the products with the fewest ingredients listed, and even more importantly, no matter the length of the list of ingredients, select the products with ingredients you can actually pronounce!
As they say, if it took a laboratory to create it (with unpronounceable chemicals), it would take a lab to digest it. Give your body a break and try to avoid ingredients that are the length of your arm 😉

Choose pastas that have a blend of grains, like quinoa, rice, and/or corn, which will cook more like the pasta you may already be used to. I’ve found pastas made solely of rice tend to be a little mushier if cooked the traditional way. Asian noodles composed of only rice will have different cooking instructions, so make sure to read the packaging.

Baked goods, like bagels, breads, etc., found in the refrigerated section tend to be more like gluten-filled items with more familiar textures and tastes.

**Even better for your body and your wallet: Choosing whole foods, like beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat or even brown, black, or red rice, which can be bought in any grocery store and even in bulk at natural food stores. Plenty of traditional recipes can be de-glutened by swapping these ingredients for their gluten-filled counterparts.

Don’t forget that beer contains gluten, too, so look for gluten-free beers or ciders to help whet your whistle. (Wine and liquors are considered GF by the Celiac Foundation.)

As you’re starting to make these small, but somewhat drastic changes, the most important piece of the puzzle is to approach this process with playfulness and curiosity. Sometimes, the recipes will not turn out as you think (don’t worry; it’ll get better with a small amount of practice and you might even create your own unique recipes!), or you might fall off the wagon and pick up a non-gluten-free cupcake. It’s ok!

Be kind and patient with yourself, and keep on keepin’ on. You are worth the journey and the work, and this new way of living will become a lot more fun and rewarding than you might have ever imagined!

Thinking of Going Gluten-Free? How to Know if It’s For You!

Certified Gluten Free, Gluten Free, Is gluten free for me, is gluten-free for me, easy gluten free tips

Gluten free. Two words, much mystique. From trendy diets to health conditions, living gluten-free is becoming more mainstream, but what does it really mean?

First off, gluten is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not an additive or an unnaturally occurring substance. It is a natural protein found in rye, wheat and barley that some people find hard to digest. It can become stuck to the lining of the intestines, wreaking havoc for those with a sensitivity or allergy and encouraging a slew of other health challenges to take shape. From a B-vitamin deficiency to joint pain to brain fog to IBS to The Real Deal Celiac’s Disease to MS-like symptoms to even cancer, a gluten intolerance left unattended can become a real roadblock on the journey to optimal health, to say the least.

Before you take off to your kitchen to exorcise all potential gluten-filled items from your pantry and fridge, let’s talk about the best approach if you’re interested in dabbling in this (currently on-trend) gluten-free lifestyle.

Try an elimination diet.

An elimination diet is simply a way of eating that removes gluten-filled foods from your diet (not to be confused with a diet that limits your food for weight-loss; going gluten-free does not guarantee weight loss, but it is a possibility!)

An elimination diet is a simple and relatively cheaper method of figuring out if you are gluten-sensitive. Depending on how long you’ve been eating gluten and how significant the impact has been to your sweet body, it may take 7 days to 6 months to truly feel the relief of going off the gluten. For me, it took about six months of going gluten-free before I felt the symptoms significantly subside; other people can deduce a sensitivity within a week. Your best bet is to go off of it for a week, then add it back in for a day and pay serious attention to how you feel. I’ve seen people get a runny nose the first time they take one bite of a bagel (ONE BITE!). That’s an indication you may want to remove gluten from your diet. Other indications that you might be better off going G-free could be lesser joint pain, decreased belly bloat, fewer digestive problems, and/or clearer thinking as a result of going G-Free. Just reading that list alone certainly makes testing out going GFree quite attractive, doesn’t it!?

Keep a journal or mental list of the changes you notice in your body, mind, energy level, etc. as you go through the week. After the seven days of gluten-free living, add some “normal” carbs back into your diet and then notice how you’re feeling. Re-read your journal of observations and decide if G-Free living is for you!

Holiday Hangover? How ’bout a Detox!

holiday, detox, beet juice, spa water, healthy eating, gluten free, atlanta health coach

Overeating and indulging are often synonymous with “holiday,” aren’t they? And although we consider the winter holidays the main times of temptations, even the summer, the alleged season of beach bodies and barely-there bikinis, can tempt us with sweet treats, scrumptious side dishes and delicious seasonal cocktails.

Let’s take our most recent holiday extravaganza: July 4th. BBQ’s, potato salads, cold beer and cupcakes, oh my! And when you take your celebration on the road, though, like we did this year with a jaunt to the Holy City of Charleston, SC, the sensational local cuisine (and cocktails) is quite irresistible. It’s inevitable that the lighter-fare summer diet takes a hike! From “adult slushies” to French fries to boiled/fried/steamed shrimp to crab dip…oof. Walks on the beach and around Old Town did little to minimize the physical effects of the decadence, and we certainly felt like we needed to detox by the time we arrived back in the ATL.

Our group of detox’ers wasn’t quite what you’d call “amenable” to the thought of a drastic 180, like the Master Cleanse or other fasting-type cleanse in order to combat our recent eats, so we took a middle-of-the-road approach: clean eating accompanied by this gentle herbal total-body cleanse.

We embarked on a 30-day “adventure cleanse” of eating clean, living right, upping our physical activity, cutting back on sugar and alcohol, and revving up this lifestyle change with proper herbs and supplements to support our bods as they cleaned everything out of our organs and colon. We were very regimented for the first week, and then eased back into our healthy-living for the rest of our month.

Once our bodies adjusted to the herbs and such, we were not really interested in diverting from our plan because the temptations just weren’t appealing, believe it or not! We started feeling so good, it wasn’t worth backsliding.

Here’s a peak into some of the food & drinks we had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

beet juice, green juice, atlanta health coach, gluten free
A refreshing start to the day: “Spa Water” of limes, lemons, cucumbers and shredded ginger, and the old stand-by beet, carrot and ginger juice!
gluten free, healthy eating, easy snacks, antioxidant, hemp milk, sesame oil, cabbage,
Healthy, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies plus a little of protein make for a satiating meal and satisfying snacks on-the-go!
Healthy fried rice, sesame oil, edamame, gluten free, health coach, atlanta, healthy eating
Leftover rice and veggies sauteed in sesame oil with a scrambled egg and a touch of Sriracha is a lighter take on traditional Asian Fried Rice dishes. Healthy and Delicious? Yes, please! (PS. This is also a wonderful breakfast!)
edamame, vegan meal, healthy fat, brown rice, candlelit, gluten free, gluten free on-the-go
Green, leafy veggies plus brown rice, avocado and edamame provide a balanced meal of nutrients, fiber, heart-healthy fats and protein. What Detox?

With these sorts of dishes on the menu, you’d never know we were detoxing, and we hardly did either!

Tell us, how do you bounce back from booze and binges? We’d love to hear, so share your tips and tricks below.

Happy Hemp History Week! Grab your seed, not your weed!

hemp, hemp history week, gluten free, on-the-go snack, health coach atlanta
hemp, hemp history week, gluten free, on-the-go snack, health coach atlanta
Hemp Hearts, or shelled hemp seeds (photo cred: Triathlon Magazine)

It’s Hemp History Week, which, perhaps to the chagrin of some, is not actually a week dedicated to gettin’ your ganja on! Instead, it’s a week devoted to spreading the word on the nutritional and environmental punch powerfully packed into this wee seed.

In terms of health benefits, hemp is one of the few sources of vegetable protein that contain ALL essential amino acids, which are critical for not only physical, but mental health, as well. Certainly something of which to take note, my vegan friends! Amino acids are the compounds in proteins that are critical for regenerating cells and building and strengthening your muscles, including your brain. These protein sub-units keep your noggin in peak performance by not only helping to combat stress, but also by helping to strengthen your memory

Hemp also contains those super sexy fats that always make the headlines: Omega-3 & Omega-6.

Omega-3’s and -6’s are known to reduce inflammation and cholesterol and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and even Cancer. Additionally, the benefits to mental health are my favorite part of these fatty acids. From memory loss to depression to ADHD (Attention Dialed to a Higher Dimension), many mental hiccups can be treated or prevented to a certain degree with Omega-3 & Omega-6.

And get a load of this: Hemp is not only a source of nutrition for your body, but beneficial to the environment, as well. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees, and fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees, resulting in less pollution! Additionally, one acre of hemp produces twice as much fiber as an acre cotton, yet without requiring nearly as many pesticides, and it has even been shown to purify soil and repel weeds. Sounds like a must-have on any farm, commercial and otherwise!

But, where do I find these hemp products and what do I with them, you ask? Well, here we go!

tempt, hemp milk, hemp, hemp history week, health coach, health coach atl, health coach nyc, gluten free, snacks on-the-go
Tempt’s Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp Milk found at your local grocery!
hemp hearts, shelled hemp seeds, manitoba
Manitoba is my personal favorite, but check out others, like Ziggy Marley’s and Nutiva’s, and find your own favorite!

Many hemp products, like the milk & seeds, can be found at your local grocery store or Whole Foods. For instance, my favorite, Living Harvest Tempt’s Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp milk can be found in the natural food section at the local Kroger (which I love in my smoothie or on cereal, as it tastes subtly earthy, like soy).  For more of the boutique hemp products, such as raw hemp butter, Amazon.com is your go-to. Like you would with any cooking oil, use hemp oil to sauté veggies or make salad dressing, and for a little texture fun, add the seeds to your smoothie, your granola, or on top of any salad, as the seeds don’t have a pungent taste. Two tablespoons contains 6 grams of fat (including 882 milligrams of ALA), 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein, so they’ll round out any meal or snack, from a nutritional standpoint, very nicely.

For more information on hemp, check out these sites and share your thoughts with us below, as always!

The Official Hemp History Week Website
Triathalon Magazine’s Mel McQuaid’s Hemp Hearts Salad
Living Harvest Tempt, the freedom loving, environmentalist, hempfood pioneers