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!

The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose with a Tactical Career Plan

A paved path, outlined with trees with text overland, "The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose with a Tactical Plan"

Throughout our The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose posts, we have been exploring how you can evolve your work life to be happier and more aligned with who you are. In this segment, we get tactical with career planning.

In these posts thus far, we worked through your inner workings and motivations using a creative exercise that helped you uncover what you need to be inspired and effective at work. Then, we set off to build the strategy that supports your the big picture. Now that you have a sense of who you are, we’ll dive deeper into where you want to go and how you’ll get there.

Grab your tactical gear and let’s get to it.

You have outlined where you’re heading. To translate your plan into action, take an inventory of the qualifications and experiences you have had and write them down.

Pull out old resumes for a memory jog or scan your LinkedIn profile. (If you don’t have one yet, get one!)

Tie your previous roles and responsibilities to your future gig by connecting the dots. Tell your value story. Even if you were “just an intern” or “just a secretary” or “are brand new to the field,” you have relevant experience that will lead to your success.

Focus on the business results you achieved – tangible and intangible. Did you drive sales? Or grow business? How did you reduce inefficiencies or improve culture?

You have brought very valuable skills to your current and previous organizations. Make a list of them, and if needed, update your resume.

By presenting the business case of your soft skills along with the quantifiable results you could offer – or have offered – to an organization, you are adding power to your presence. You will differentiate yourself as the strong performer that you are!

What’s next?

Next time, we’ll talk about how to create more time and space in your day to focus on the activities and items that will help you carve out the path you’re on. Who doesn’t love tips for getting more out of your day? We’ll see you there!

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little direction, share this post. We’re stronger together.

 

The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose through Self-Awareness

A paved path lies ahead through trees

If your work life has lost its luster, know that you are not alone, my friend.

Regrouping when something isn’t working is part of the evolution of You, and more so than ever, we are awakening to the call to do something that matters to us. In the professional arena, specifically, more and more individuals are daring to change jobs or career paths when it just doesn’t “do it” for them anymore. Did you know that people hold between ten and fifteen jobs during their career with many holding four jobs before turning 32? (Read more here and here.)

Whether a long-time coming or an abrupt moment of clarity, there’s no better time than now to get going!

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will navigate important questions and thinking patterns to set the course for a satisfying career path.

We’ll discuss some of the expected questions you’re asking yourself through unexpected lenses, we’ll build your brand, and explore your values, motivations and goals to give form to your future. Sound good? Let’s get going!

First step, know thyself.

You need to get clear on who you are and what you want because it’s a heckuva lot easier to get where you want to go when you know what it looks like.

We’re going to get the ideas flowing through a creative exercise, and it is one of my favorites! I get out the sharpies and a thick piece of paper and just go nuts on whatever I’m wanting to work through, define, describe, create, solve… you get the picture.
For best results, put your computer away for the first part. A connection between mind, heart and body is activated with the activity of writing, and as you’ll see, that’s key!

Be as pragmatic or as emotionally-focused as you’d like. (Mine usually have been a blend of both… along with some whimsical doodles 🙂 )
Important: include any factors that fuel your inspiration or activates your intrinsic desire to push on (i.e. motivation).

After you get it all down, you’ll post it somewhere in your home where you’ll see it.

Here are a few thought-starters to get you going:

    1. The values that are important to you
      These could be values you want embodied by an organization, infused in your work or empowered by your paycheck, i.e. because of your paycheck, you’re able to donate more money to an organization you like, or have opportunities to speak to large groups about a cause that’s important to you, or pay for your yoga certification. Money isn’t dirty, and it’s ok to want it!
      Financial stability gives us options, and options give us freedom. When we use money strategically and in alignment with our values, we can affect great change in our lives and our community.

    2. What you want to be doing at a high-level and day-to-day

    3. The level of impact you want to have in your organization, your community, even on any direct reports
      Consider how you want to feel, how you want them to feel as a result of working with you, how it might look, etc.
    4. How you want to feel in the office and with the people who work there
      Words like “collaborative and supportive”, “autonomous and independent contribution” or “fast-paced” vs. “traditional” are descriptors to consider as you get clear the look and feel of it

Once you’re satisfied that you’ve captured it on the page, post it in your home in a location where you’ll see it regularly. Prime real estate? The front of the fridge!

Remember that, even after you’re done, you may get inklings of other words or phrases you want to include. If so, add them in! It will evolve as you do!

What’s next?

In our next segment, we’ll craft the strategy that will take you from your current role to that Ideal Job. We’ll build on the intrinsic motivations and must-have’s you’ve already named with deeper insights and an actionable plan.

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little direction, share this post. We’re stronger together.

 

Fashion is More than Frivolity

Widely considered exclusive and elitist, fashion was never my bread and butter. I couldn’t see the connection between the power of a well-assembled ensemble and feeling empowered until I embraced fashion and my personal style as battle armor for a series of unfortunate events.

It was then that I remembered how strong and confident I could feel by taking pleasure in the details, carefully crafting the pieces that exuded who I believed I was – or could be – how, as a result, my self-worth and confidence came gushing through, and I walked taller, more gracefully and with the poise I needed to handle a few hard times.

Fashion, in fact, is a powerful means to cultivating confidence and a stronger self-concept. Used as a mode of self-expression, fashion is one of many ways we speak to the world with our own unique blend of nuance, passion and vulnerability.

When we fully express who we are, we access the deepest parts of our authenticity and personal power, which paves our path towards optimal well-being.

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak" overlay on an image of a runway behind
photo cred: Pinterest board of myperfectline.com

Much like how you organize and decorate your home or office or what you post on social media, how you put yourself together, your personal style says, “here’s who I am, here’s what I’m about.” Although, at times scary, in expressing ourselves through creativity, e.g. fashion and personal style, we satisfy an intrinsic desire to speak our truth and express our individuality.

Want a few ideas to awaken your inner muse without breaking the bank?

Try these on for size (see what I did there? 😉 ) :

  • Browse Pinterest and Instagram for real-world fashionistas, the kind who are your size or exude confidence, boldness, or other attributes that inspire you
  • Write down a few words (or print a few pictures) that describe your style
    Bonus points: Make a mood board
  • Take an inventory of your closet
  • Note which items awaken that inner confidence? Keep these!
  • Note the items that make you feel drab or frumpy? If there’s hope that a good tailor can resurrect some beloved pieces, keep them; if not, donate them!
  • Decide on a budget for any additional pieces you want to add

Once you have an idea of what you’re working with, slowly fill in your wardrobe with the key pieces that you can wear again and again!

To make your budget go even farther, shop sales at your favorite department stores and mosey through TJMaxx, Marshalls, Saks Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, etc. to shop the look you want without going broke. Set a time limit for how long you’ll shop and shop with intention! You’re on a mission!

Fashion is simply one of many fluid, flexible means to enliven your creativity, satisfy your desire to show up in the world and be seen as only YOU can. No matter your size, income level or personal style!

How are you using Fashion to express who you are?

We love to hear real-world stories on how you do Fashion (and so does our community!), so leave a comment below, share this post, or discuss your great ideas with friends, and report back!

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! 

How to Grocery Shop for Gluten Free Living

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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!

Motivation for Your Monday: Just Dance

photo (5)
photo cred: Danskin

As a matter of fact, yes, I am!

We all have challenges; whether a big struggle or a little one, a long-lasting time of trial or a temporary hiccup, the struggle is real.

Even when things are going well, we can worry that the other shoe will fall, and carrying that worry and anxiety can be really heavy! Why did this happen? What did I do to make this happen? What should I do differently next time? What if…? 

To carry that weight is a drain on our spirit, not to mention simply exhausting, and it takes our attention away from the goodies in life. Regardless of the burden you bear, positive people and blessings surround you, and getting bogged down in your woes deprives you of the joy of experiencing such things. There is relief to be found in the good stuff, the important stuff that makes life worth it! The people, experiences, pets, pictures, moments that make you happy!

What if, just for today, just for an hour, or maybe just in this moment, you let go of that load.

Let go of  the worry. Take a breath and just be present in the moment. Rent the space in your head to other things, things that are going well, things that make you smile.

Cue up some of your favorite songs and just dance. Be silly! Shake your groove thing. Sing at the top of your lungs. Give yourself a mini-vacation!

The worry will wait for you if you want to pick it back up later, but for now, just dance.

xo!

Motivation for Your Monday: The Average

Jim Rohn You-are-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-spend-the-most-time-with.

Within the past week, this quote has crossed my path twice, which means… dum-da-dum! Today’s Motivation for Your Monday!

Jim Rohn, a renowned business person, expressed this notion in the context of business; a leader is defined, in part, by those with whom he spends the majority of his time. Simple, yet eloquent.

If, while aiming to take his/her business public and traded on the NY Stock Exchange, an individual’s team is comprised of a finance guy with no calculator, a marketer with no market pulse, a PR guy who doesn’t speak English, a procurement guy who can’t negotiate and a lawyer whose specialization is family law, how successful will that individual be? She or he won’t necessarily be doomed, but the challenges to success will certainly be more prominent.

Now think of a teenager in this same context. A bit of a trite example, but easy to follow. If a teenager “falls into the wrong crowd” at school, the likelihood of that kid making less-than-stellar choices is higher than the kid who doesn’t.

Now take a moment to think about yourself.

Mull over the personal goals you’ve set for yourself, such as losing weight, getting out of debt, improving your self-worth, learning something new, etc.

If, in the journey of working towards these goals, you surround yourself by nay-sayers, pessimists, or other individuals who do not value, nor support, these types of “must’s” as you do, how will this impact your rate of success? Sure, you can certainly overcome the odds! Absolutely, no doubt about it. But it seems that more stumbling blocks would be created along the way by surrounding oneself with people who tend towards more of a culture of negativity, complacency, etc.

Changing your behavior and your life are hard enough. Set yourself up for success!

Take stock of the people with whom you spend the most time.

Do they value and embody the ambition and priorities that you are working towards? It’s not so easy as to slice and dice your entire tribe, particularly if you’ve been friends with many of them for years, or they’re your own family. That’s ok. You don’t have to.

Look at other avenues for you to spend time with people who do embody those traits you want to emulate. Take advantage of opportunities to spend time with them or mix them into your group.

You’ll bring up the group average while also exposing new ideas to old friends and setting yourself up for success.

Win, win!

walk-with-the-dreamers
Photo Cred: thedreamsintoplanproject.wordpress.com

Motivation for Your Monday: Live Your Passion

Nelson Mandela inspiration, There is no passion to be found, live your life, gluten free, nelson mandela inspiration, nelson mandela quote, life, iconic quotes, passion quote, quote about passion

I wish I knew who designed this image, so I could say thank you, if not give them credit because I simply love it.

I found this image around the time Nelson Mandela passed away when I was looking for inspirational quotes with a…”compelling” design, I guess you could say. One that I wouldn’t mind looking at every time I glanced at my phone to check the time or find an app. There was just something about the glistening that caught my eye; wise words that are both poignant and effervescent at the same time. It is one of my favorites that I go back to time and time again, and I wanted to share it with you all, particularly since last Monday’s motivation touched on calling on your courage to ask for what you want, and Living The Life You Imagined seems to be a recurring theme lately among the people in my life.

Here is my observation from having so many conversations and musings on the topic. We come into the world with a clean slate – hopeful, blissful, lit from within by the passion, dreams and desires we have for our lives; we know we are protected, loved and supported without exception and believe we can conquer the world. Somewhere along the line, though, we begin to form opinions, beliefs, and perceptions of the world and what is possible. The more we experience, the more we learn, and the richer the textile of our story, but at the same time, we also strengthen our perceptions of our reality. We become convinced that either the world is our oyster or there is a limit to what we can achieve.

What I want to say is this: The world is your oyster. You are the force in your life that will bring the sparkling, effervescent, impassioned, refreshing, rewarding life you fathomed. What lies outside of you is nothing compared to the strength, beauty and ability that lies within you. (You remember that quote, right? It’s timeless because it’s true.)

You want a better job? You can get it. You want to provide more for your family? You can. You want to lose the weight, get out of a relationship that doesn’t bring you peace and joy, raise your child differently than you were parented? You. Can. Do. It.

Aim Higher!

You have a passion that, even if dampened right now, is there with a reason. Do not settle for less than you are able to achieve, and you are able to achieve far more than you give yourself credit for. It doesn’t matter if we have met or not, it’s true. It is a commonality among all of us that we underestimate all that we are capable of and the powerful impact we currently have, and could have, on this planet.

So again, aim higher! Believe in yourself, find your courage, awaken your passion and GO!

Motivation for Your Monday: No Such Thing as Rejection

Rejection, blaming yourself, blaming myself, self-worth, self-esteem, self-love, carry on, move on, let it go, coping, moving on, heartbreak, advice about rejection, no , gluten free, health coach atlanta

Ugh. It can be beyond frustrating, heartbreaking at times, when we don’t receive or accomplish whatever we figure is coming to us in our journey, whether that’s a  career-defining job, the seemingly be-all-end-all relationship, the sought-after promotion, the to-die-for apartment… When it doesn’t come through? Ugh. There are really just no words to describe the disappointment, right?

If we’re not careful, we can easily turn our disappointment & frustration inward, berating ourselves for making a mistake <gasp> or being caught off-guard, or worse, telling ourselves we don’t deserve what (we thought) would make our hearts happy or lives complete. Why is it all too easy to fall into the (self)blame game that undermines our self-worth or purpose on this planet?

Whether it is a legitimate “no,” or just a curve in the road of life that feels like rejection, comfort can only be found in having the faith that whatever lies beyond the curve will be better than we ever thought. This truth is definitely not always easy to accept, nor is it a cake walk to make it from the pain of here to the hope of there, but the truth is, we don’t know all that Life, God, or the Universe has in store for us.

The next time you feel life is telling you “No,” consider that you are actually receiving a super big “YES” to something better than you dreamed in your future.