Foods to Balance Blood Sugar

Balanced blood sugar levels are crucial to a healthy life. Balanced blood sugar levels prevent disruption of your body’s functions and help your overall health. Here are a few foods to add to your diet to help balance your blood sugar:

Greens:

You can never eat too many greens. For the best blood sugar benefits, go for nutrient-dense, low-carb greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli. These greens are also very rich in protein and calcium, which help your body in multiple areas. You can toss these greens in salads with olive oil and chunks of salmon. Studies have shown that these three vegetables contribute to dramatic improvement in patients who are constantly battling with their blood sugar.

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Low fructose fruits:

Fruit is always a must, but for blood sugar-specific management, choose fruits that are low fructose, such as cantaloupe, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, and blackberries. You can snack on them throughout the day, or toss them in your salad, smoothies, or acai bowls.

 

Protein:

Protein is essential for slowing down glucose absorption in your body, which helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Add foods to your diet that are packed with protein, like wild salmon and other types of fish, beef and other types of lean meat, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and eggs. Make your diet interesting; try snack ideas like celery sticks dipped in almond butter. This snack is rich in protein and only contains the good kind of fat. Remember everything in moderation, however. Too much protein actually can become sugar in your blood, creating a condition called gluconeogenesis.

Herbs and Spices:

Herbs and spices are natural supplements for balancing your blood sugar levels. They not only add flavor to your dishes but they may also help your hormone’s lower your blood sugar. Some spices, like turmeric, contain anti-inflammatory properties, which help in balancing out your sugar.

Gluten-Free Grains:

Whole grain foods that are also rich in protein, like millet and quinoa, provide and store energy without causing spikes in your blood sugar levels.

Beans:

Beans are a good source of protein, low carb, and rich in fiber, all important factors in balancing your blood sugar. Hummus, lentils and garbanzo beans are good examples and great dietary choices. Remember to soak them the night before to promote easier digestion.

Nuts:

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Nuts like almonds and walnuts contain healthy amounts of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and are a low carb snack idea. Try balancing your blood sugar the natural way by changing the way you eat. You’ll be amazed at the difference!

If you would like to learn more and get support in balancing your blood sugar, check out my Sugar Breakup Program Here.

The Natural Sweetener That Isn’t Actually Healthy

I might upset a few people with this post but the truth needs to be spoken. When you start getting healthy and conscious of the type of sugar you’re putting in your body, this pseudo-health food is bound to come up. It’s a sneaky one, because the way it’s branded often makes it seem like a good alternative to plain old sugar, but that’s simply not the case. 

Enter… agave syrup. Agave sounds great in theory because it’s derived from the agave cactus, they make it out to be like the maple syrup of the south. Unfortunately, agave syrup has a few major faults that make it best to stay away from. 

Agave is closer to HFCS than it is to natural sugar

Agave is promoted as a low-glycemic sweetener, which is true, but what it lacks in glucose it makes up for in fructose. Agave is 85% fructose and like high fructose corn syrup causes problems in the human body. Fructose overloads the liver and adds to insulin resistance. Fructose isn’t a problem when consumed in actual fruit, because fruit has fiber, but by itself fructose is a no go. 

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Agave is a highly processed product

The sugary liquid extracted from the agave plant isn’t all that bad, it still contains enzymes and compounds called fructans which actually have beneficial effects on insulin. But that liquid is taken and boiled to become a thick syrup, destroying all the beneficial fructans and enzymes, making it a highly refined and processed sweetener. 

There are lots of much healthier sweeteners out there

Truly natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and dates are a much better option than agave.

3 things you can do to improve your health ...

Can I tell you something?

There’s something that I didn’t realize when I first started working one-on-one with people who want to make their health and wellness a priority, people who are sick of feeling less than amazing, and people who are confused about who to listen to for advice.

Here it is:  Most of us already know what we need to be doing to improve our health!

There is a lot of information (and mis-information) when it comes to the foods we eat. Just look at the variety of books in the ‘diet’ or ‘health’ section of your local bookstore. But when it comes down to it, we still know the basic things we should be doing to improve our health.

In fact, when I ask my clients “What are three things you think you could be doing, to improve your health?” I get similar answers each time:

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1. Be more active

2. Stop eating _______ or stop drinking ________ (or stop smoking!)

3. Eat more vegetables.

 

 

We intuitively know how to make ourselves well. But when it comes to following through? That’s where we fall apart. I know!! I have done it, too. I still do it. I might be a health coach, but I’m still human! I eat chips, I drink wine, and sometimes I don’t eat as well as I know I can.

For the next week, I’d like you to think about the obstacles that are stopping you from living your healthiest life. Think about it, journal about it, reflect on it.

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What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you work long hours and cooking a healthy meal seems too time-consuming, or maybe you feel that the price of healthy food is too high. Perhaps you will discover that you aren’t sure if you really deserve to feel amazing.

Your job for the next week is to simply think, reflect, and journal on these obstacles. Knowing your obstacles, habits, and patterns will help you figure out how to work around them!

I would love to hear your comments below. Tell me what is stopping you! Let’s work it out together!

How to Know if Your Blood Sugar is Stable

Maintaining your blood sugar is very important for your overall health. A stable blood sugar level helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces your risk of diabetes, regulates your glucose levels, and can help increase your physical activity. Here are some noticeable signs that you have healthy, stable blood sugar.

You do not suffer from any sort of inflammation.

Your blood sugar often spikes in response to the excess release of cortisol by your body and excess cortisol can cause inflammation. Excess sugar equals inflammation. If you do not suffer from any kind of body inflammation, your blood sugar level is probably stable.

Your skin is clear.

Acne is a form of inflammation. When your body suffers from an injury or illness, it tries to protect itself; the same is true when your diet is not healthy. If you consume a lot of sugar, your body will react in the form of inflammation. Acne is an inflammatory response to poor microbiome health, which is often a result of unstable blood sugar.

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You feel energized and are physically active.

Excess sugar releases cortisol in your body that can lead to increased fatigue. When your blood sugar is not stable, you may feel lazy and sluggish. If you are enjoying high levels of energy and are not easily tired by physical activity, you most likely have a healthy blood sugar level.

You do not crave sugar all the time.

Insatiable sugar cravings are a sign of an unstable blood sugar level. Occasional cravings are normal; everyone feels like scarfing up a whole tub of ice cream at some point or another. But, if satisfying that initial craving keeps you consuming sugar, there is a good chance your blood sugar is not stable.

You can lose weight easily.

When your blood sugar level is stable, it is a lot easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. An unstable blood sugar level makes it nearly impossible.

You do not feel the need to urinate frequently.

A well-functioning bladder is a sign that your blood sugar level is normal. People with unstable blood sugar levels often suffer from a weak bladder and may feel the need to urinate more frequently than normal.

You can easily quench your thirst.

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People with stable blood sugar levels are able to easily quench their thirst after drinking water. Many people who have unstable blood sugar levels feel thirsty all the time and are not able to quench their thirst even after drinking water.

You don’t experience a sudden brain fog.

Another symptom of unstable blood sugar is brain fog, when your brain suddenly becomes fatigued and it becomes hard for you to focus or concentrate. Healthy blood sugar levels can help promote sharp and extended periods of focus.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms and could use some help removing sugar from your diet, I have a group starting next week. Click here to check out the details.

Sugar and Inflammation: Two Peas in a Pod

The average American consumes around 19 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis. This much sugar has been linked to increased incidence of heart disease and inflammation among other things. 

Sugar causes excess-acidity.

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Sugar throws off the acid-alkaline balance in the body and thus creates an environment that’s not in balance.

Sore achy joints, brain fog, low energy, and poor digestive health are just a few of the effects that too much acidity can cause. 

According to Dr.Weil, an expert on inflammation, “research has linked added sugar to the development of high blood pressure, increased triglycerides, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and fatty liver problems. It also makes insulin less effective in lowering blood sugar.”

The reality of the situation is that human beings never evolved to eat this much sugar. Our ancestors thrived on a diet high in protein, fat, and plant foods and rarely was there any sugar in the picture. When we start to derive a high percentage of calories from sugar alone (which is nutritionally void) we’re setting ourselves up for disaster. 

If you want to balance your body, reduce soreness and stiffness in your joints, improve your digestion, your mood, and enhance your immune system’s ability to protect you, the best thing you can do is take a hint from our ancestors and stop eating so much sugar. Your body and brain will thank you. 

If you're ready to breakup with sugar, we have a group forming to start soon!

Check out the details here.

Sneaky Names for Sugar and How to Avoid an Accidental Blood Sugar Crash

There are so many names for sugar these daysit’s hard to believe. When you don’t know some of the common industry terms for sugar you might quickly read an ingredient label and assume it’s okay, when it’s really loaded with high fructose corn syrup. 

The sugar Industry is always trying to remain elusive to modern health trends. Now that it’s popular knowledge that sugar is bad for you, companies are doing what they can to hide the fact that their product contains sugar. 

Here’s a list of names for sugar that you might miss if you don’t know what to look for… 

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  • Agave nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn-syrup solids
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Golden syrup
  • Gum syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Simple syrup
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado
  • Xylitol

When you know to avoid anything with these ingredients listed you can feel empowered in knowing that your food choices will support you on your journey towards amazing health. Get in the habit of reading every label and you’ll never be the victim of a surprise sugar crash again.

Would you like some guidance and accountability to break your sugar habit? We've got a group forming now and we start together on May 7th. Check out the details here.

8 Snacks to Get You Through the 4pm Slump

It's 4pm, and you're already yawning and feeling exhausted.

Put that double expresso and muffin down - they aren’t going to get you through!

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Who hasn't experienced that drained feeling halfway through the afternoon, when making it through the day seems impossible? According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly half of us report an afternoon slump where energy and concentration are challenged. One of the most common reasons for afternoon fatigue is fluctuating blood sugar levels. If too much sugar is released into the body at once, by either waiting too long to eat between meals or high carbohydrate or fatty foods, too much insulin is released to balance the sugar levels. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise and fall rapidly, leading to a quick burst of energy followed by a deep crash. And therein lays the afternoon energy slump... yawn!!!

Enter SNACKS. So, why are they such an important part of your day? They bridge the gap between meals and stop that rumbling stomach when lunch and dinner are hours away. They keep your blood sugar stable and your hunger in check so that you are not grabbing a candy bar from the nearest vending machine or gorging everything in sight at your next meal. Snacks will fuel your AM workout if there is no time for a proper meal and will replenish your glycogen stores after you have finished that run and strength session. Snacks are also a great way to get in extra whole foods to ensure that you are getting in the correct nutrients for the day. 

It’s important to pick the right snack at the right time, to keep energy levels up and bridge the gap properly. A snack made up of a complex carb, a healthy fat, and clean protein will increase your energy levels for a longer period of time. 

So, back to that 4pm slump. It’s the time of day when another cup of coffee or quick sugary snack seems like the perfect way to carry you to the end of the day. Hold that thought! With this snack list in hand, and a little planning, you can easily push through and run to the finish line. Don’t let that 4pm slump take control of you; you have the power to take control of it! Below is a list of my top eight snacks to beat that slump, so arm yourself with the ingredients and knowledge that you have the power to keep your hunger and energy in check all day!

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EIGHT TOP SNACKS TO PREVENT THE AFTERNOON SLUMP

  1. A handful of raw unsalted nuts/homemade trail mix – the protein, fiber, and fat is a perfect snack combination
  2. 2 cups of mixed raw veggie sticks and 2 tbsp of your favorite dip – hummus, tahini, pesto, etc.
  3. Hardboiled egg, ¼ avocado, and tomato on a piece of sprouted Ezekiel toast
  4. ½ cup organic Greek yogurt (or a lactose-free option) with 1 tbsp nut butter, cinnamon, and ½ apple, sliced, OR Greek yogurt with 2 tbsp mixed nuts, seeds, and berries
  5. Smoothie – unsweetened almond milk, ½ banana, 1 tbsp almond butter, protein powder, vanilla, cinnamon, hemp seeds, maca powder/cacao powder, and ice 
  6. 1 apple, sliced, with 1 tbsp nut butter
  7. Chopped fruit salad with fresh mint and some almonds 
  8. Nori seaweed, canned salmon/tuna, avocado, spinach, and cucumber wrap

What Sugar Does to Your Brain

CAUTION: Only read this blog post if you are truly ready to end your relationship with sugar. Once you know this, you can’t go back.

Have you ever been in one of those mid-day slumps where you can’t seem to think straight?

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And in a daze you reach for the sugar-laden latte or a donut?

Well, what if I told you that the way your brain experiences those stimulants lights up the exact same areas as cocaine? Crazy, right?!

New research is coming out every day on just how bad sugar is for the brain. It’s as bad for your brain as being in an extremely stressful or abusive situation 24/7.

Sugar addiction can actually impair the function of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and coping with stress.

But there’s hope!

When you go off sugar your brain starts to repair itself. The brain fog you deal with everyday disappears and you feel clear and focused like never before. When sugar is your primary fuel source, not only is it damaging you on a physiological level but it’s also impairing your higher mental function.

Using sugar or refined carbohydrates as a pick-me-up creates a vicious cycle ... the effects of the sugar wear off quickly and the low energy returns with a vengeance. When you cut sugar out of your diet you transform this cycle and create stable, sustainable energy that allows you to actually focus and feel mentally clear. Just one of the many benefits of eliminating sugar from your life.

BUT—yes, there’s always a but—breaking up with sugar isn’t necessarily easy.

The first couple of days after you quit sugar, you’ll be high on pride. You’ll be pumped about this new endeavor and that excitement will be enough to get you though.

But around day 3 or 4, the excitement wears off, and the reality sets in.

When you eat sugar it gives you immediate gratification, which makes you happy. When you first start to detox from it, you don’t have access to this instant shot of dopamine, and much like a drug addict, it puts you in a desperate and terrible mood. And also much like a drug addict, the effect is just a physiological as it is psychological.

This physiological and psychological battle going on, is going to temporarily outweigh the benefits of quitting sugar. You probably won’t notice that you’re thinking with newfound clarity focus, because the only thing you’ll be thinking about is a cupcake.

Which is why, if you’re committed to really getting the positive, healthy effects of breaking up with sugar, you’re going to need a plan for this little rough patch I like to call the withdrawal period.

Here’s how I got through my own withdrawal period, and how I encourage my clients to get through theirs.

I got educated

The first step is knowing. Understanding the negative impact sugar had on so many aspects of my life–my mood, my sleep, bloating, brain fog, skin irritations, joint pain, PMS—was a powerful motivator to eliminate it.

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I got in community

In a culture that is super addicted to sugar, adhering to an all natural and all sugar free diet can be very isolating. I did my detox with a group of other people who were also choosing to prioritize their health by making this change. Instead of being surrounded by sugar addicts, I was surrounded by people who understood exactly what I was doing, why I was doing it and what a challenge it was for me.

I eased myself into it

With anything - it’s hard to go cold turkey. I eased my way into it by first cutting obvious sugars and as time went by, eliminating the sneakier sugars that most people aren’t even aware are sugar.

I took good care of myself

On Day 3 of my sugar detox, I was crabbier and more exhausted than I had been in a long time. It would have been the perfect excuse to give up. But, because I was educated and in community, I was prepared to give myself grace by stepping away from my to-do list in favor of a warm bath and some extra sleep.

Ready to breakup with sugar? We've got a group forming now and we start together on April 16th. Check out the details here.

The Easiest Way to Get More Energy

Do you feel tired often? Is getting out of bed in the morning a daily struggle? Does your energy dip every afternoon and the only thing that can bring you back to life is a candy bar or bottle of pop? 

The secret to more energy isn’t a brand new magic pill or super shake. In fact, it’s much more simple than you might think. 

If you’re ready to increase your energy levels naturally there’s ONE thing you must do: eliminate sugar from your diet in all forms. This might sound dramatic but hear me out. Sugar has ZERO nutritional value yet it still takes a ton of energy to process. It actually TAKES from your body instead of giving to it (like food is supposed to do). 

If you’re ready to not feel like you’re completely drained at 2pm. If you want to wake up feeling refreshed. If you’re dying to have the energy to play with your kids or go for a work out when the day is done, then it’s time to give up sugar. 

Here are 3 easy ways you can reduce your sugar intake starting NOW … 

  1. Stop drinking soda or juice, stick to water flavored with slices of citrus, cucumber or brewed herbal tea over ice.
  2. Eliminate white flour from your diet. No more bread, pasta, or baked goods that spike your insulin levels like nothing else. 
  3. Skip dessert and opt for a nourishing herbal tea with licorice root as a naturally sweet addition that also helps curb cravings. 
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Want even more great tips to help you lose weight, improve your digestion, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all? 

Check out my new 2-week Sugar Breakup program details here.

What Not To Do When You Go Off Sugar

If you think going off sugar is a good idea, you’re definitely on the track towards vital and vibrant health. Removing sugar from your diet is a smart way to lose weight, increase your energy levels and improve your mood, but only if you do it the right way. 

So often people get rid of sugar without really knowing what to do. Here are my top tips for making sure you get the results you’re after when you eliminate sugar. 

What Not to Do

1. Don’t get rid of sugar and fat at the same time

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Maybe you think you’ll kill two birds with one stone and cut fat at the same time as sugar. First of all, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Even if you eat 4 tablespoons of coconut oil in one sitting, you’ll STILL lose weight if you cut sugar. Fat is essential for stabilizing for blood sugar levels and curbing your sugar cravings, so make sure you get plenty of healthy fat at every meal. 

2. Don’t drink or eat “diet” anything

Aspartame is NOT healthy and will make it so much harder for you to lose weight. It’s totally toxic and was originally invented as a type of rat poison. Practically everything labelled diet or sugar free has aspartame so stay away from anything with these labels. 

3. Don’t load up on natural sugar like dried fruit and bananas

Some natural sugar is okay is there’s enough fiber to counter the insulin spike. Bananas and dried fruits like dates are notoriously high in sugar and will make it all the more difficult to eliminate cravings. 

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4. Don’t keep eating bread and refined carbohydrates

Bread and refined carbohydrates like pasta, potatoes and white rice, don’t look like they contain sugar, but these foods break down into sugar once digested. If you keep eating them, you’ll keep craving sugar, and you’ll wonder what you’re doing wrong. 

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you mess up

Everyone slips up now and again. Be gentle with yourself if you make a mistake or have a weak moment and vow to keep trying. Don’t let one slip up start you on an outright binge.

Are You Addicted to Sugar? Find Out Now.

You’ve probably noticed that sugar detox programs are all the rage lately. Maybe you’ve questioned whether or not YOU have a problem with sugar. I invite you to keep reading and discover the truth for yourself … 

If you agree to any of these clues, you might have a problem with sugar consumption. Sugar is highly addictive; if you do have a few of these signs, don’t worry, you can turn the situation around. 

You crave sugary foods or refined carbs at least once a day

You love having a big donut or muffin with an afternoon coffee. Or maybe you’re more of a savory type of person and you enjoy a croissant loaded with cheese or a bag of chips. In the end it all turns into sugar. 

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You often keep eating even if your full

When you get your hands on a big piece of chocolate cake you can’t stop yourself from finishing it ... even if you’re totally full. 

You eat sugary foods or junk food even when you know you don’t need to

You had a nice healthy supper an hour ago, yet you want to snack on some jelly beans, chocolate or a bag of chips even though you KNOW that it’s not nutritionally necessary, nor are you truly even hungry.

You make excuses to eat sugar

You buy organic sugar or honey so that you can make excuses and claim that it’s healthier. In truth, sugar is still sugar, and you know this yet you can’t stop yourself from indulging. 

You make special trips to the store or restaurant to get your fix

Uh oh, your ice cream stash is empty, there are no more chips in the cupboard. Time to run to the store and stock up, or go for a treat at your local cafe just because you can. 

Sugar becomes your reward

Oh I’ll just clean the kitchen and then I’ll deserve to have a slice of cheesecake. I had a rough day, I deserve to eat chips and drink pop for dinner. 

You’ve got a secret stash and when nobody’s around you dig in

This is a big one, if you have a stockpile of unhealthy snacks that you hide from your loved ones, it’s time to open your eyes and put down the candy. 

You’ve tried to stop eating sugar and you just can’t

No matter what you do it seems impossible to stop. You’ve tried to quit sugar but only end up feeling horrible and finally you cave in to the urge. 

It doesn’t have to be this way, with the right strategies, delicious healthy recipes, and guidance from a qualified professional you can ditch your sugar woes and feel amazing. 

CHECK OUT MY SUGAR BREAKUP PROGRAM NOW.

Healthy Paleo Collagen Holiday Loaf

The classic holiday loaf recipe is taken to new heights with this healthy, collagen-infused version. It's sure to keep you warm all winter long!

If you haven't tried Vital Proteins' new delicious Collagen Creamers, you need to. They can be incorporated into any recipe your heart desires, so naturally a holiday loaf needed to be created.

Gingerbread cookies and loaves are a time-honored tradition for many cultures, including here in America, where the soft-baked loaves are more popular than the stiff variety used to make gingerbread houses. Ginger root was considered by many ancient civilizations as a valuable commodity, as it helped disguise the flavor of preserved food. It has been used in different forms and various tonics to help support digestion and the immune system.

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Healthy Paleo Collagen Holiday Loaf

Ingredients
1 c cashew butter
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c maple syrup
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 t fresh grated ginger root
1/2 c cassava flour
1 t baking powder
2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer, Coconut
1/4 t salt
1 T lemon juice
Gingerbread spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice) to taste

Glaze
1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer, Coconut
2 T coconut milk
2 T raw honey
1 t arrowroot starch

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard loaf pan and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add in cashew butter, applesauce, maple syrup, egg, vanilla extract and fresh grated ginger root. Mix until well-combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together cassava flour, baking powder, Coconut Collagen Creamer, salt, and spices.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well-incorporated.
5. Add in the lemon juice and whisk again.
6. Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.
7. For the glaze: add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high. Let the glaze sit for a few minutes to thicken. Best served on the holiday loaf when it has cooled slightly.
8. Serve immediately.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

What I LOVED in August ...

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I fell in love with some amazing products last month and these are at the top of the list:

Pulp Story Wellness Blasts: I'm LOVING these for a quick boost of energy and nutrients. These blasts come in four flavors and have a base of turmeric, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory root. It helps your body fight free radicals that lead to aging and inflammation. And, it's cold-pressed immediately to retain all of its vital nutrients! YES! In cold-pressed form, turmeric is extremely bioavailable, meaning your body can put it to use boosting your immune system and energizing you right away, rather than using a lot of resources to process it. As cold season approaches-I'll be stocking my fridge them!

Beautycounter Tint Skin: I've never been a foundation wearer. Foundation always felt like a mask to me ... and if I'm going to wear a mask, it better be Halloween. I've been pretty lucky in life to have fairly clear skin - but as the clock ticks on and the years go by, I've begun to develop age spots, so I like a bit of coverage to even things out. This hydrating foundation does just the trick. It blends in to my skin really nicely, so it doesn't look or feel like I'm wearing anything, but it helps cover imperfections and even my skin tone. And I love that it contains sodium hyaluronate, which is a natural moisture magnet that reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Can't beat that!

Primally Pure Everything Spray: Who doesn't want a spray that does everything?! I've been loving this spray as a facial toner, but it's also good to spray after shaving to prevent ingrown hairs or as a quick refresh under your arms if there is no deodorant in sight! It only has 9 ingredients, which can all be recognized and pronounced. Ingredients are the first thing I look at when buying anything - whether it's food, body or home products. Each ingredient packs a good punch, but my favorite is magnesium - because over 80% of us (including myself) are deficient and magnesium supports over 300 reactions in the body.

Daily Harvest Smoothies: Life has been busy and Daily Harvest smoothies have been SO helpful because all I have to do is add almond milk to a cup full of healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients and blend. They have a ton of different smoothie flavors and I haven’t tried one that I didn’t like, but my favorites are Acai+Cherry, Cold Brew+Almond and Apple+Greens. I will often add a scoop or two of Further Food Collagen to the blender to boost the protein and I’m off and running!

Just because everybody else gets sick, doesn't mean you have to.

You know that time of year when every time you turn around in your office, someone else is sick?

I am all too familiar with that time of year, because I was always one of those sick people.

I blamed it on my circumstances. It’s close quarters! Seriously, if my neighbor sneezed, I felt the spray.  (Ok, that’s gross and never happened, but it paints a picture.)

Once upon a time, I knew that, as soon as someone got sick, it was coming for me—like the time I woke up with strep throat that was so bad I landed myself in the emergency room. There I was, a grown woman in tears over a sore throat. As if my misery wasn’t enough, I missed an entire week of work.

What I didn’t realize, was that it didn’t have to be that way.

The problem wasn’t everyone getting sick around me, the problem was my immune system was weak.

I was fueling myself on refined carbs and candy and, as it turns out, the immune system doesn’t really function that way.

My inner science nerd is coming out to play, so stay with me.

We are continually exposed to organisms that are inhaled, swallowed or inhabit our skin and mucous membranes. Our immune system decides whether or not these organisms lead to disease ... When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice the festival of germs. But when we have an under or overactive immune system, we are at a greater risk of developing infections and other health conditions.

Getting sick isn’t the only thing you’ll get when you’re immune system is weak.

Low energy, gaining or holding onto weight, blood sugar imbalances, sporadic irritability, mild inflammation (e.g. knee or back pain) and digestive issues can all be signs of a weakened immune system.

I want you to be energetic and thin and forever free of strep throats and common colds—really all illness in general. If I could send you a magic pill to handle all that, I would. But I can’t.

What I can do is give you three really simple suggestions that can lead to dramatic improvements in your immunity and you may find added benefits like energy, weight loss and smooth digestion as an added bonus.

Remove toxic foods from your diet.

Toxic seems like such a dramatic word, but the reality is that our grocery stores and favorite restaurants serve up food that’s even more damaging than it is delicious—things like sugars and sweeteners, processed foods and hydrogenated oils make your body work really hard and when it’s working hard to get rid of toxins, it isn’t working hard to keep you healthy.

Add probiotic rich food to your diet.

Probiotics are good bacteria that help you digest nutrients, detoxify your colon and balance out and support your immune system. You’ll find probiotics in fermented vegetables, fermented dairy and kombucha.

For some people fermented foods are an acquired taste, but start with a tiny bit—it can go a long way. And there’s no harm in teaching those old taste buds new, healthier, tricks.

Sleep.

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Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus (e.g. the common cold).  Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins that attack inflammation and infection. If you’re missing out on sleep, you’re missing out on producing those healing proteins. Not to mention, if you’re not sleeping enough, your body probably isn’t producing enough antibodies— and those are the things that keep you healthy in the first place.

So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases.

Make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of good sleep each night.

This is how you get the body you want

If it were easy to lose weight, we wouldn’t all have such an obsession with it. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry full of crazy ideas and quick fixes. The thing is, if any of these crazy ideas and quick fixes were permanent fixes, we—the people—wouldn’t have to keep buying them and the diet industry would not be a multi-billion dollar industry.

Weight loss is much simpler than a quick fix and much harder than a quick fix all at the same time.

If you get my emails regularly, you may remember my friend Lacey. She signed up for a medical weight loss program a few years ago and—despite the fact that what she ate tasted like crap, or maybe because what she ate tasted like crap— she lost 42 pounds in 8 weeks.

When she finally gave in to eating actual food again, she gained the 42 pounds back—like 98% of dieters always do.

But here’s the thing, Lacey went right back to eating exactly what she had always eaten. And with as much as I believe quick fixes don’t work, I also know that eating exactly what you’ve been eating also isn’t going to work either.

Weight loss doesn’t happen simply by eating less of what you’ve always eaten—those are the foods that got you where you are in the first place. And weight loss certainly doesn’t happen through diet-industry-endorsed quick fixes.

Weight loss happens when you learn which foods work for your body.

This is a process of trial and error that—if done correctly—will end the battle between you and your body forever.

If you are eating foods that do not agree with you, your body will bloat or retain weight as its sign to you that what you’re feeding it isn’t working. If you’re eating the right foods for your body, the weight you need to lose will start coming off and, if you keep eating the right foods, it will stay off.

Studies and statistics have shown that most people who go on a diet gain back more weight than they lost.

This is why I don’t put my clients on diets and I won’t tell you to do on one either.

Weight loss isn’t just about the food on our plate or the hours we log at the gym. It’s about creating a well-rounded life that is feeding and nourishing us in a number of ways. So, let’s stop “dieting” and stop thinking of our workouts as the consequences of what we’ve eaten. Let’s think of it as the way we choose to live our lives and fuel our our bodies with the food that allows it to perform at an optimal level.

This is how you get a body you want.

 

Keep a food journal.

Write down not only what you’re eating, but also how you’re feeling at different points throughout your day.  Your energy levels, your digestion and your mood are huge indicators as to whether or not your current diet consists of the right foods.

 

Consider an elimination diet.

If you’re finding that your energy levels, digestion and mood are inconsistent, it may be time for an elimination diet. I say “consider” an elimination diet, because it’s a big—and often extreme— commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you have other health concerns.

An elimination diet strips away all processed foods to give your body a break for a bit. After the initial elimination period, you’ll start to reintroduce certain foods to see how your body responds.

There are lots of different types of elimination diets and there are different ways to go about eliminating foods and adding them back in, which leads me to my next point...

Talk to a pro.

When we’ve been eating the same things and working out—or not working out‚ the same ways for a long time, it’s easy to fail to see the errors in our ways. Not to mention, nutrition has so many nuances that you can’t be expected to know and/or research all on your own.

Whether you’re all in for an elimination diet or hesitant about it, it’s great to talk to a pro. I know a good one who does free initial consultations! (hehe.) Click here to book a free consultation with me. I want to help you make educated choices about how to reach your weight loss goals.

What I LOVED in June ...

I'm getting back in the swing of things sharing products that I LOVE, so here is what I LOVED in June ...

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BeeFree Chocolate Warrior Mix: I fell in love with BeeFree Warrior Mix after the first bite and fell in love again after learning more about the company. The BeeFree company was founded by Jennifer Wiese after she learned about the positive impact that a gluten and dairy free diet could have on her son with autism. Aren't moms just the best?! Warrior Mix is a gluten-free, grainless Paleo granola mix that is made with nuts & seeds (no oats), sea salt, coconut oil and sweetened with honey. It has big clusters that you can easily grab as a snack or crumble on top of a smoothie bowl and, in my opinion is sweet enough to replace a cookie if you're craving one! I've tried all five mixes and I'm a sucker for the chocolate, so it's definitely my #1 love, but the others are all very close to my heart. You can check them all out here!

Further Food Collagen Peptides: Now that I'm 35, I'm paying much closer attention to the fine lines and wrinkles on my face. I'd like to tell you they don't bother me, but I'd be lying.  I am all about nourishing, healing and getting great skin from the inside out and one of the ways I do that is with collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body it makes up 90% of our connective tissue and 20% of our skin. Unfortunately in our 20s, we start to produce less collagen, which leads to wrinkles, saggy skin, joint stiffness and weaker bones. Talk about a downer! Enter Further Food Collagen Peptides HELLO! Further Food Collagen peptides come from high quality, grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine, are odorless, tasteless and instantly dissolve in liquids so it's a staple in my daily coffee or smoothie! You can check them out here and use promo code ANDREA10 to get 10% off your order!

Clarisea Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant: This exfoliant makes me feel like I was just at the beach and makes my skin feel smooth and look so bright! Clarisea products first peeked my interest when I saw the very simple, yet very effective ingredients. The Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant has ONLY 4 ingredients — and you can pronounce each one! Talk about going straight to my heart. There is Activated Bamboo Charcoal Powder that is used to absorb and whisk away dirt and excess oil, Almond Flour to brighten the skin and powdered Pacific Ocean & Himalayan Pink Sea Salts to exfoliate (and why I feel like I was just at the beach!). I mix the exfoliant with my cream cleanser and LOVE that I can customize the amount of exfoliator based on what my skin needs on any given day. Check it out here!

Beautycounter Plumping Mist: Facial mists seemed like the last thing I needed to add to my beauty routine, but now I use one every day! I use the Beautycounter+ #2 Plumping Mist to prep my skin and set my makeup for the day. Here's how I've added it to my routine: After cleansing, I use two to three spritzes to prep my skin for the day. It provides a first layer of hydration and protection from outside stressors before I moisturize and apply makeup. After applying makeup, I use another two spritzes to set my makeup for the day and give my skin a dewy look. Beautycounter has several facial mists, but I chose the Plumping Mist for the extra hydration to help reduce the appearance of my fine lines! I'm fighting them from the inside and out! You can check out it out here.

Have you tried these? I want to hear— please share your thoughts in the comments!

Ditch The Bloat For Summer

Let’s face it, engaging in social festivities during the summer (and any season) is a tough time to eat cleanly and make good choices. But with a little forethought, we can set the stage for success. I want to give you the simple steps you need to face temptation and not gain weight. 

Some of us do not need a birthday party or holiday to be tempted by food because we work in an office where parties are often thrown, treats are brought in, or there’s even a candy bowl filled and available at all times. I know that's not just my office — right??!

You may be a person who travels or attends lots of functions or cocktail parties for work — and you just cannot figure out how to say no to all the goodies. 

I am here to walk you step-by-step through a little something I call “how to make it work in the real world when temptation is everywhere.”

Let me first say this: Life is not about deprivation and constantly saying no to sweet treats. It is about balancing the yes and the no so we stay happy, healthy, feeling good, and free of health issues.

I work with busy people who have forgotten what balance looks like on their plates and in their lives. Below is the exact info I give my clients — I hope it helps you just as much as it has helped them become more aware of their food choices.

WHEN DO YOU GET TEMPTED?

Attending a cocktail party or a wedding

The donuts or the vending machine at the office

When you’re watching TV

Bringing treats to your kid’s school

Preparing food for a party you’re throwing

When you're stressed

 

HAS THIS HAPPENED?

You swore this year would be different or that you were going to be good tonight, but somehow the food you promised yourself you would not eat entered your body.

I have had those times in my life and trust me I am human, and it still happens. But I finally have a plan, and I am sharing that plan with you today.

Studying nutrition has changed my life. It taught me that the food on my plate was key, but so was how I was nourishing myself in other areas of my life. I began to take care of myself and slow down.

Eating foods that were right for my unique body lessened my food allergies, and I began to lose unwanted toxicity and inflammation. 

I realized that the constant itching and welts I randomly got on my face stemmed from an extreme sensitivity to mangos and oranges. When I discovered these things, I began to feel alive and in control of my health. Basically, I felt renewed. 

Together, we are going to lie out the perfect plan for you to ditch the bloat, say no to those foods that do not serve your awesome body and stay healthy during the summer season.

SECRET #1: PRE-PLANNING

Make sure you know what you are walking into. If you’re attending a barbecue party, plan to eat beforehand. It is safe to assume most parties offer tons of cheese, bread, and lots of sweets, so it is best to have a good mini meal before you go.

MY FAVORITE MINI MEALS ARE:

  1. A healthy protein like roasted chickent with avocado 
  2. Greek (if you tolerate it) or non-dairy yogurt with nuts
  3. A smoothie
  4. A cup of soup
  5. A healthy protein bar 
  6. Carrots with hummus
  7. Any protein and vegetables

Make sure you are satisfied before you head out to the party. 

SECRET #2: EAT SIMPLE AND THINK SIMPLE

Keep it simple. Make sure the meals you are eating are easy to digest. Often we are stressed with a full social schedule, and when we eat when stressed, we go into fat storage mode rather than fat burning mode.

Taking deep breaths and being conscious of what you eat is key for your health and happiness, and will leave you better able to say no to the sweet treats.

Try taking a breath in through your nose, holding that breath for 10 seconds, and then releasing. Repeat this deep breathing exercise 5 times, and you will reduce those stressed feelings.

SECRET #3: MY SECRET WEIGHT - LOSS WEAPONS

Two drinks I would not live without during my day are the following:

MY MORNING LEMON ELIXIR

2 cups of room temperature water with the juice from 1⁄2 a lemon.

MY EVENING ALKALIZING CHLOROPHYLL DRINK

12 ounces of water with 1 tablespoon of chlorophyll and the juice of one lemon.

Note: you can buy chlorophyll at any natural food store, Whole Foods, or on Amazon.

It's a New Year. What Is Holding You Back From Being Healthy?

Can I tell you something?

There’s something I didn’t realize when I first started working with people who want to make their health and wellness a priority, people who are sick of feeling less than amazing, and people who are confused about who to listen to for advice.

Here it is:  Most of us already know the basic things we can do to improve our health!

There is a lot of information (and mis-information) about the foods we eat. Just look at the variety of books in the ‘diet’ or ‘health’ section of your local bookstore. But when it comes down to it, we still know the basic things we should be doing to improve our health.

In fact, when I ask my clients “What are three things you think you could be doing to improve your health?” I get similar answers each time:

  1. Be more active
  2. Stop eating _______ or stop drinking ________ 
  3. Eat more vegetables

While I will add more items to that list, the point is that we intuitively know how to make ourselves well. But when it comes to following through? That’s where we fall apart. I know! I have done it too.

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For the next week, I’d like you to think about the obstacles that are stopping you from living your healthiest life. Think about it, journal about it, reflect on it.

What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you work long hours and cooking a healthy meal seems too time-consuming, or maybe you feel that the price of healthy food is too high. Perhaps you're just overwhelmed with all of the health dogma out there (I know, there is a lot of it).

Knowing your obstacles, habits, and patterns will help you figure out how to work around them!

Here's to a healthy new year!

What I Loved in October ...

I often get asked about products I use and love, whether they are food, lifestyle or beauty related, so starting with October, I'll be sharing a few of my favorite things each month. Hope you enjoy!

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1. Phillips Wake-Up Light: As the temperatures fall and the sun rises later in the morning, I find it harder and harder to wake up and get out from beneath the comfort my flannel sheets in the morning. Can you relate? Enter Phillips Wake-Up Light. I'm OBSESSED. 30 minutes prior to the time I want to get up, light slowly starts slowly filling my room. It starts as a dim yellow and gradually increases to a bright yellow to stimulate my body to wake up naturally. At the time I've set my alarm, birds start chirping and I feel ready to get up. Granted, I still don't want to leave my flannel sheets ...but this light has made a significant difference in getting my booty up in time. Check it out here.

2. Beautycounter Charcoal Mask: Facial masks are fun, but as I've become more educated about harmful ingredients in products, it has been hard to find any that are safe AND effective. Typically when you find a skincare product with really powerful actives (meaning the ingredients that are doing the tough work), they are put into a base of preservatives that we don't want on (or absorbed into) our skin. With this mask, Beautycounter has done an amazing job of using very powerful actives (salicylic acid and charcoal) in a very cooling, soothing and safe base.

I typically use the mask once per week for 10 minutes. Once it goes on, the salicylic acid gets to work. It really cleans out your pores, exfoliates and dissolves gunk without leaving your face red and irritated. The charcoal binds to toxins and impurities to detoxify the skin and it also contains green tea extra extract to make it soothing for the skin. Each time I use it, my skin immediately feels smoother and looks brighter. And as I've continued to use it regularly, I have noticed progressively clearer and smaller pores. Check it out here.

3. Collagen Peptides Sticks: I put Vital Protein Collagen Peptides in my coffee every morning, but when I'm traveling or not able to make my coffee at home, I usually skip my collagen because it can be messy to pack. And I don't like to skip my collagen!

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It’s found in muscles, bone, skin, and connective tissue like tendons... it basically holds the whole body together, providing strength and structure. It’s important for healthy skin, hair, nails, and teeth; maintaining healthy joints and helping to heal a leaky gut. Collagen production naturally declines as we age which reduces the structural integrity of the skin. When that happens, it can lead to sagging skin, formation of lines and wrinkles, and the weakening of cartilage in joints, making you less flexible and making bones weaker. See why I don't like to miss my collagen?! That's why I was THRILLED when Vital Proteins came out with single serve collagen peptide packs. They're great for travel or when I'm just in a hurry to get out of the house; I always have at least one in my purse. Check them out here.

Take Action to Protect Your Health

My mission is to empower people with information to protect their health. 

Why?

Because my heart has been broken too many times.

Broken by cancer. Reproductive and hormonal issues. Heart disease. Diabetes. Parkinson’s disease. Too many diseases that leave a piece of my heart forever broken. However, it's that part of my heart and my hope for the future that fuels my mission.

Have you ever said you’re "just not going to think about” what’s in the food you eat? Or in the products you use?

I know it can feel overwhelming, but you need to start paying closer attention to what you put IN AND ON your body. I say that with total love. It's important.

Your health is your greatest asset and over time, we've all be asked to compromise it. From processed foods to toxic ingredients in our cleaning and beauty products, we are compromising our health everyday.

It’s time for change. And we need to start taking a stand for ourselves and our loved ones.

Three-ish years ago I started studying nutrition. Over those three years, I spent hundreds of hours learning how the human body works, how a lot of the food I had been eating impacted my body’s ability to work at an optimal level and the negative impacts some foods had on my health. Today I am empowered and empower others to make choices that fuel their body for optimal health.

Two-ish years ago I started transitioning many of the products that I use in my home and on my body to safer products. I tossed cheaper products in the trash, used some until they were gone (they were expensive!) and pushed hundreds of dollars of other products into the back of my closet (largely because it felt very wasteful to throw them away, but I knew I shouldn’t be using them).

Over the last two years, I’ve tried a lot of “clean” products. I’ve found some that I’ve loved and some that I’ve hated. 

I’ve learned that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies every single day. And if cosmetics are found to be unsafe, the U.S. law does not not provide the FDA power to ask for safety data or issue recalls of unsafe products.

I’ve tried making my own products so I knew exactly what was in them because when manufacturers buy bulk ingredients from suppliers, they are often getting an already-preserved raw ingredient and the end product doesn’t need to list those preservatives. That means a preservative-free or paraben-free product may contain those chemicals after all.

I’ve spent a lot of time and money searching for safe products that actually work and have sometimes been so frustrated with (the lack of) what I found that I’ve pulled out those products I shoved in the back of my closet and used them while I continued my search for safer products that actually worked. Bad call, but I was frustrated! 

It’s been a journey. And I love and learn from every step.

The most recent step I’ve taken on my journey is to join Beautycounter.

Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer, high-performing products into the hands of everyone. 

That’s a big job to do. And, I’m ready to help because I align with their mission, love the products and trust the safety of the ingredients in them.

Did you know there are over ten thousand ingredients commonly used in all personal care products; of which approximately only ten percent have been tested for safety on human health? Many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues and hormone disruption. It makes my stomach turn.

The reality is that we are putting hundreds of chemicals and ingredients on our bodies every single day. Even in small doses, chemicals can have a lasting and negative impact on your body.

We need change.

Unfortunately, the U.S. has not passed a major federal law to regulate the ingredients in personal care products since 1938. But Beautycounter executives and consultants are taking action, spending time on Capital Hill to effect legislative change and have more rules in the cosmetic industry, so we can protect our health.

Over the last two decades, the European union has banned nearly fourteen-hundred toxic ingredients. The US has banned only ELEVEN. Beautycounter has banned over fifteen-hundred ingredients and there is not one ingredient that isn't disclosed.

All of this said, I invite you to follow these three simple steps and start to make change today. 

  1. Review this Never List. This is a list of ingredients that will never be used in Beautycounter products because they are linked to cancer, reproductive issues, organ toxicity and severe skin sensitivity.
  2. Look at the ingredients of one of the products you use every day. Maybe it’s your shampoo or moisturizer. Make sure that NONE of these ingredients are listed. If they are, please consider transitioning to a different product that doesn’t contain those ingredients.
  3. Repeat step two and review all your products

Don't feel overwhelmed by this exercise. Start by taking a look at one product per day and start to transition your products as needed. At the end of the day, we need to take a serious look at what we put in and on our bodies and take a stand to protect our health.

If you want to transition to a Beautycounter product, it’s a great time! I’m running a promotion to incent change in moving toward safer products and will personally send you a Face Protect Stick Sunscreen if you make a purchase of $60 or more through July 31, 2016. Just make sure to use my link so I can see you’ve made a purchase and send your stick! The face stick is easy to apply and very compact so you can always have it with you. 

We need change now more than ever and I am committed to providing you access to information so that you can make better choices not only for you but for those that you love.