Can You Eat Potatoes ( or other starchy Real Whole Foods) ? Test Your Blood Sugar!

4 girls after walking cere

( I love this pic of my girls! Raise healthy kids!  They’re depending on us!)

Potatoes, corn, carrots, plantains, bananas, beans,…wow, they sure do cause confusion.  Years ago, Dr. Atkins came out with his first book and completely demonized these foods by lumping them in with grains and sugars.

It was a great book, and he had a TON of research behind his initial recommendations, which were that if you’re overweight and want to lose, cut waaay down on the carbs, and consume lots of protein and fat.  He’s right.  Crappy carbs will not only put weight on us – and our kids – but they’re the perfect vehicle for:  inflammation, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, ADD, ADHD, skin issues, and just about every disease out there.  Crappy carbs cause an Inflammatory Environment in our body – and our kids bodies.

Crappy Carbs are Evil.

But are those Real Whole Foods I listed above “Crappy Carbs”?  No. But that doesn’t mean you get to eat them.  Sorry.  The real answer is, “It depends.”  What do they do to your blood sugar after you eat them?  There’s an easy way to find out:  buy a blood sugar kit, aka, a Glucometer.

IT’S SO FUN – honest!  You might think Glucometers are just for diabetics, but they’re not.  Anyone can buy a kit in any drugstore or Walmart, or off Amazon, anywhere.

If you’re a weight loss client of mine, you probably already own one.  If you’re not a client, but a blog reader, buy one today.  Here’s why.

When blood sugar rises above “normal”, (normal is between 80 – 100, but some labs have lowered that value to 70 – 90), the pancreas releases the hormone INSULIN.  Insulin is an anabolic, building hormone.  Insulin takes the excess blood sugar, the amount that sends the value over “normal”, and stuffs a little in our muscle cells (the empty ones), a little in the liver-glycogen storage (if it’s low) and then…….turns all the rest of the excess into FAT/triglycerides, and stores them in the fat cells.

How does Blood Sugar get above normal?  EASY.  Every single carbohydrate we eat becomes blood sugar in our gut.  EVERY. SINGLE. CARB. Whether it’s from a grain, pure sugar, fruit, veggies, beans, nuts, whatever.  The carbohydrate in those foods is reduced to Glucose.  That’s the gut’s job:  break food down to chemical molecules so our cells can use it.  All carbs become glucose and fructose, 2 tiny, simple sugars that fit in cells easily.  (Today, we’re just talking about glucose; fructose is evil too! More on that later.)

How much blood sugar is too much?  If we weight 150 pounds, we have about 4.7 liters of blood.  “Normal” blood sugar – a measurement of 85 on the glucometer – equals 4 grams of sugar in the whole body.  4 Grams.  4 Grams. That’s 16 calories of carb (1 gram = 4 calories).  More than that, and the conversion of sugar/glucose to fat/triglycerides happen.

A medium French Fry has 47 g of sugar (all carbs break down to sugar).

A can of coke has 39 g of sugar.

Krave Jerky Lime Chile has 39 g of sugar per package.

1 cup of pasta has 43 g of sugar/carbs.

1 cup of orange juice 27 g of sugar.

Those are all obvious Crappy Carbs; the starches become sugar/glucose very very quickly and go from gut to blood stream fast.  But the real reason they’re Crappy is because they’re highly, highly processed and have no nutritional value at all.  None.  They’re so anti-good for us they’re poison!

Conventional wisdom tries to tell us that pasta has B vitamins, or french fries from McDonalds are vegetables.  Bull Crap. Those B vitamins – added/fortified – back into the pasta, were made in a factory in China from synthetic materials.   And those Mc D’s french fries?  19 ingredients!!  Gross! That’s not real!  Read their ingredient list, and several others, here.  Please, read it.  Our kids eat this stuff, and our kids are getting sicker and fatter and sadder than ever.

It’s. The. Food.

So what about YOU, and ME, and potatoes, or corn, or plantains, or all these other starchy fruits and veggies?  How does that affect our blood sugar since we know they’re carbohydrates?

I don’t know how they affect you; I know how they affect me because I’ve pricked my finger and tested a million times in the past 5 years.  Buy the glucometer and test yourself.  They’re cheap and they’re easy to use. Prick your finger 90 minutes after a meal (peak blood sugar), and look at the number.  See how your oatmeal or your pasta or your crackers affected you.

And see how a meal of corn or potatoes or bananas or beans, or any high carb fruit or veggie, affects you.

Five years ago, I had pretty fluctuating blood sugar.  I considered myself “low carb” because I ate a lot of “low carb” foods:  Kashi Go Lean, Low Carb Tortillas, Low Carb Bread, Low Carb Ice Cream, Low Carb Cookies…..  then I bought the glucometer.  Wow.  Did I get a wake up call.  My blood sugars were way too high, and it scared me into action.

No more Low Carb Crap, just Real Whole Foods.  Of course, I worried about the high carb fruits and veggies, and the glucometer showed that yes, they did raise my blood sugar too much.  So I cut way back on them.

In the past 5 years I’ve changed and refined my diet – a lot.   I eat more herbs and spices than ever – every day.  I use essential oils.  I’ve added more fat than I ever thought possible.  I’ve managed to completely delete “cheat days” from my life (thank you God), I’ve become scared of processed foods to the degree that I’m literally afraid of them.  I’ve joined several food co-ops, I go to a couple different farmers markets.

Last summer I went totally ketogenic for a few months.

In other words, I’ve taken several actions, consistently, for several years now, and guess what?  Now when I take my blood sugar ( which I still do all the time – and I take my kids and Mark’s often also), it’s always good.

A few mornings a week I throw a banana into my smoothie – blood sugar stays low.

I eat potatoes or plantains for dinner at least 4 or 5 nights a week.  The other night I measured before dinner, I was 78.  After a dinner of roasted potatoes coated w butter, squash coated with olive oil and parm, a steak, and a piece of dark chocolate, I was 98.

I’VE BECOME SO DARN NORMAL.  It’s awesome!

I believe you can become normal too, with persistence and consistence.

What’s normal?  Normal is when you eat a real whole food, in normal amounts, in a normal diet full of nutrient dense foods loaded with good fats, some protein, and a ton of vegetables, and your body processes it just fine.

Your muscle and liver cells are open to the carbs and the fat both, you sleep well, you don’t feel sick, bloated or brain foggy – ever, and your energy and immune system hum.

By the way, as good as they look, 6 pack abs aren’t totally normal, especially for most women. Having some body fat – is normal.  Being ripped, lean, and shredded, goes against most body types, and the actions needed to get there usually lower thyroid function, lower body fat to unhealthy levels, and mess up our sex and adrenal hormones.

Not normal.

How can you become normal?  There’s only one way: change how your brain things about about your body and food.  No more diet and weight loss focus, it doesn’t work. Focus on your health instead.  Pledge that at least a few times a week you’re going to read something from Dr. Mercola or Suzy Cohen or Dr. Davis/Wheat Belly or if you’re interested in the science behind the Ketogenic Diet (because I really do believe it heals cells and the liver and reverses insulin resistance) check out Dr. Nally here.

Here’s my Cigarette Analogy:  would you ever pick up a cigarette butt off the sidewalk and put it in your mouth? No! That would be disgusting, and there’d be no effort at all in resisting that urge.  I want you to look at a slurpee or a box of cookies or a fast food burger and think:  “I’d never put that in my mouth, that’s disgusting!”.

Here’s something that’s not disgusting, and it’s delicious!  2 Recipes, each I’ve had on here before, but they’re worth repeating.   The first is my Sweet Potato Pizza – Oh My Gosh is it delicious!!

Chipotle Sweet Potato-Zucchini Pizza

20150627_145925

1 large sweet potato
1 large green zuc, ring out water by 20150627_172301twisting in a towel
1 heaping tbsp chipotle powder
3 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and pat onto a pizza pan. Bake at 425 for 40 minutes. Top with tomato sauce and cheese ( and whatever else you want, I’ve done corn, cilantro, and peppers). Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes – kids love this and it’s so much better than french fries-

roasted potatoesScrub and dice potatoes
Pour a couple tbsp of melted KerryGold butter and coat them w it
Salt & Pepper
Bake at 425  50-55 minutes, flip w a spatula half way through.

By the way, these things freeze and reheat beautifully, they’re a great Power Cooking food.

Are Your Meds Making You Sad, Overweight, and Sicker? Probably!

IMG_9068Have you ever considered that your muscle aches, brain fog, joint pain or other maladies could be caused by your medicines?  Even weight gain can be a side effect from everyday meds.   Disclaimer:  I realize that sometimes medication is absolutely necessary; my #2 daughter is epileptic. This is about the bigger picture.

Keep reading for the nitty gritty details, and to see family pics that have absolutely nothing to do with this Post:)   (Descriptions:  Shelby and I were in NYC last weekend;  Amanda started an Internship at the Epilepsy Foundation, and we celebrated Macy’s 21st birthday.)

Every year, prescription drugs cause over 81 MILLION adverse reactions and result in 2.7 million hospitalizations. 

Worse:  EVERY WEEK, prescription drugs kill more than 2,400 people. 

“This epidemic of harm from medications makes our prescription drugs the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Including hospitalizations and deaths from prescribing errors, overdosing, and self-medication, drugs move up to third place.”

Medications are the 4th leading cause of death in the US – did you know that? 

At anyone time, 70% of us are on at least 1 prescription or OTC drug.  Old, young, skinny, fat, whoever.  We take a lot of drugs in this country, and we’re having an epidemic of side effects.  

Most of the time these side effects are treated – by us and our doctors – as another disease, that needs the remedy of a drug.  It’s a viscous cycle. 

Americans take more drugs than people in every other country in the world. IMG959154952And I’m talking literal prescription numbers, not the amount spent on drugs; which is also the most in the whole world.  To say we’re highly medicated is an understatement.

It hasn’t made us healthier.  Despite 70% of the country on drugs, we have higher rates of chronic disease than almost every other country in the world, and the CDC predicts that every single disease, from heart disease to cancer to obesity, will continue to rise through 2030 at least.

We need to start drawing some common-sense correlations here.

Healthcare, which = drugs and doctors and hospitals, does NOT necessarily = healthy.

How many drugs site “ damage to the liver” on the side effect list?   More than half?  Who feels damage happening in their liver?? NO ONE.  No. One.  Statins cause damage to the liver. Auto-Immune drugs cause damage to the liver.  Pain relievers (OTC and prescription) cause damage to the liver. Tylenol is the #1 cause of liver failure in the US; we give Tylenol to babies.  

Liver damage brews for years before symptoms manifest.  

20150715_185716Most diseases take about 15 years to manifest symptoms obvious enough to pinpoint the disease.  Take diabetes T2, the diabetic doesn’t just become diabetic over night, or in a few months.  It takes years of high blood sugar and corresponding high insulin to become diabetic.

Statins carry the risk of actually CAUSING diabetes T2.  It’s on the side effect label.  It’s on the commercials.  It’s a real possibility.  From PubMed: “Statin use is associated with a rise of fasting blood glucose in patients with and without diabetes. This relationship between statin use and rise in fasting blood glucose is in-dependent of age, aspirin use, beta-blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.”

Other drugs also raise blood sugar:  steroids, diuretics for high blood pressure and edema, some birth control pills, and decongestants.

Chronic high blood sugar and high insulin cause ED and glycation of the skin, aka, wrinkles and age spots.  One doc on the Heart Summit called ED the “canary in the pants”.  Consider these symptoms of Heart Disease, because they are.

Diabetes is predicted to affect about HALF our population by 2020 – that’s right around the corner.  Diabetes is DANGEROUS, and EXPENSIVE.  If we watched our carbs and meds, T2 is almost fully avoidable, and reversible.

What about Diabetes drugs, like Metformin, which force sugar into cells that have self-protectively shut? Metformin causes serious digestion issues. Gastro-paresis and GERD, here you come. Besides, God had those cell receptors shut for a reason, it’s not a mistake, it’s self protection for the cell.

What if your T2 has progressed to the point of Insulin, what then?  Insulin, in excess (it’s “excess” if you’re a T2) is a caustic hormone.  It zooms through the arteries causing inflammation and damage.  AKA, Heart Disease.

What about a life style change instead of statins or diabetes drugs?  After all, heart disease and diabetes are caused by our life style, which is our every day choices.  To reverse or avoid them, stop eating grains, sugars, and chemicals, and start eating Real Whole Foods, sleep more, move more, and practice stress management.

20150712_101243It’s a no brainer!

Let’s move to pain relievers, which we give to our babies.

Did you see the news release last week about NSAIDS and heart disease? The FDA says that NSAIDS, from Advil to Aleve to Celebrex, can cause heart attacks and stroke – even in people with NO RISK FOR HEART DISEASE AT ALL.

If you take NSAIDS, please read this link.  Apparently, the whole “COX-Inhibitor” action of the NSAID isn’t the advantage we’ve been lead to believe.  Research has discovered that the inflammation they cause is then followed by repair.  COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes unstick platelets and prevent clots.  Blocking them with Advil or Celebrex (or other NSAIDs) encourages clots.

Birth control pills also cause blood clots.  How many young women take both daily?

Back to statins:  Liver damage – check. Blood sugar increases – check.  Muscle pain – check. Testosterone depletion – check. Memory loss – check. CoQ10 depletion – check.  

Hey!  There’s a pill for all that! ( sarcasm )

Is heart disease because your body is low in statins?  Is pain because your body is low in NSAIDS?  Is diabetes because your body is low in metformin?  Nope.

We don’t get sick from a lack of drugs.  Usually, we get sick because of our actions and choices.  When soda, alcohol, bread, sugar, pasta, fast food, junk food, too little sleep and no focused attention on stress management, are a normal part of our life, of course we’re sick.  

Why do we take so many drugs?

We’re one of 2 countries IN THE WHOLE WORLD, who actually allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to us, the consumer.  In 1997, Congress revised a law allowing pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly without covering most of the possible side effects.

20150711_115653Numbers wise, seeing these advertisements has made us want drugs a whole lot more.  We actually ASK our doctors for these drugs now, which is the whole goal of advertising.

In 1997, spending on ads was $280 million; by 2002, it was $2.8 BILLION. Now, it’s $3 BILLION. On average, if you take one prescription drug you’ll be exposed to 70 potential side effects. Some of the more commonly prescribed drugs average around 100 side effects each — and some drugs even carry over 500!

Back to my beginning:  drugs can cause death and disease. Yes – sometimes they save a life, absolutely.  But when we’re talking Chronic Disease, and that’s what MOST people are taking drugs for ( 88% of all health care spending is on Life Style/Chronic Diseases), the only thing that can really REVERSE a disease, and not just manage symptoms, is a Life Style Change.  That’s it.  Life Style Change.

Real Whole Food, Moving, Sleeping, and Stress Management.  These are choices we need to make and focus on.  Choices we need to teach our children.

Our health is the result of our actions and choices and even our thoughts.  We have power over all that, let’s take it.

Reasons To Exercise You Didn’t Even Know About, and How To Fit It In.

debbie (27)Who loves to workout?  I do!  I have plenty of friends and family who do, and I work with several clients who do.

Even if you don’t, READ THIS POST.  Exercise, or more accurately, moving, is so crucial to a normal healthy brain and body, that science tells us not moving is probably more unhealthy than smoking.

Exercise balances and normalizes our testosterone and estrogen.  Men, you want more testosterone as you age?  Exercise.  Women: bad periods, rough PMS, menopause?  Exercise exercise exercise.  Moving our muscles and stressing them, reduces the inflammatory conditions of these cyclical changes.  Ever been PMSing, worked out, and then felt so. much. better.?

More benefits: exercise, any exercise that makes our muscle move and feel a little stress, causes the muscle cells to make special proteins that go through our blood, into our brain and GROW IT.

Parents, this applies to kids too.

When our muscles move, they create a protein called BDNF ( brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor).  BDNF literally goes to the brain neurons, and waters and fertilizes them.

When our muscles move, our neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, GABA) are “balanced”.  The percent of studies showing that exercise reduces anxiety and depression better than every single drug on the market?  About 100%.  With no negative side effects.

As a matter of fact, looking at us biologically and ancestrally, we’ve been created to move (forage/hunt for food, shelter, mates) to stimulate productive brain activity.  Moving makes us smarter and better able to cope with life.

Several studies show that if we want to learn new skills or facts, exercise first.  It stimulates pathways that allow us to build memories/learn in our brain.  There’s a caveat though. If you think you’ll do your learning while you exercise, say, studying on the elliptical or treadmill ( one of my preferred methods when I went to Nutritional Therapy school), keep the exercise “steady state”, and not anaerobic.

Exercise that’s too hard temporarily shuttles nutrients away from our learning centers; exercise that’s easily doable increases nutrients to the learning centers.  That’s just a word of caution on learning while exercising, not a warning against hard exercise, because the benefits of hard exercise are numerous.

Or not.  It depends on how you feel about it.

Here we get to exercise and stress.  I said that of the thousands of studies comparing all the drugs on the market to exercise for relief from anxiety and depression, exercise wins every time.  Hands down.

When we feel “stress”, we’re actually feeling the results from a whole bunch of stress “chemicals”.  (we’re a chemistry set, not a math equation).  Whether our stress is real or imaginary, from traffic or a fight with a spouse or an actual threat to our lives, the chemistry is the same.

Our adrenal glands release epinephrine and cortisol to prepare us to physically defend or save ourselves.  Our heart rate increases.  Our blood pressure increases.  Our digestion stops.  Our arteries constrict.  Our muscle cells dump their magnesium (magnesium relaxes us, but the brain thinks we need to be tense), and **** cells become Insulin Resistant.

When cortisol is in the blood, FAT CAN NOT BE BURNED, JUST STORED.  In this state,our body actually tears apart muscle tissue and converts it to glucose/sugar to burn instead of using the fat in our butt.  

We need to manage our stress, and exercise does that! Most of the time.

Unfortunately, some people are so scared of exercise, so adverse to a whole – imaginary – negative scenario they’re created in their minds, that they have “Exercise Induced Anxiety”.  I stole that from one of my clients who used that term to describe herself.

I get it.  Gym class was traumatic for a lot of us.  It left some scars.  But I know former athletes who don’t like to workout anymore either.  Their younger athletic years were formed by coaches and teammates telling them what to do and how.  Independently exercising, which is pretty much Adult Exercise, isn’t appealing, or motivating, so they don’t do it.

The latest stats from the CDC on who exercises show us that only 20.4% of adults over 18 exercise regularly.

No wonder we have 70% overweight and on pharmaceutical drugs in this country!

What to do? Be determined. Set your mind that you’re going to move every day and you’re going to like it.   Honestly.  It’s that simple.  Oh, and have a plan.  Write it down.  Use alarms and calendars and verbalize to friends and family your intentions.

If you already work out every day, you’re golden.  If you struggle with with either fitting exercise in or moving at all, listen up.

1) Pick something that doesn’t sound scary:

-walk with a friend or a kid or a dog

-play a game in the yard with your kids

-set an alarm on your phone and walk up and down the stairs (in your office or home) 4 or 5 times a day

-set an alarm on your phone and do a wall squat or plank 4 or 5 times a day

2) Pick something fun:

-join Zumba

-join a weight lifting class

-join a beginner yoga class

-join a beginner group fitness class

3) Set Your Self Up For Success

-pack your clothes the night before

-pack a bag and water bottle the night before

-pick a sport or a class or an activity that’s appropriate for your fitness level and not something you’re going to be so sore and fatigued afterwards that you never want to come back

-put it on your calendar, and then stick to the schedule. If you have kids that need to be included, either driving them to the gym or having them with you, CONSIDER THAT.  It takes time to get kids in the car – out of the car – into the gym. Learn to become a Time Master, and teach them how to do it too.  That’s a pretty crucial skill to have.

Honestly, we can’t afford NOT to exercise or move.  Our body was designed by God for us to move.

Want a great book to inspire you to get off your butt and sweat a little it?  Spark, by John J. Ratey, MD.  It’s loaded with information that even I’ve never seen before, and I read everything about exercise that I can get my hands on.

One more reason to exercise:  Exercise GIVES us energy, it doesn’t steal it or drain it, it creates it.   Who doesn’t want more energy?

Sluggish or Fatty Liver? Could Be Why You Can’t Lose Weight or Feel Energetic. Recipes For Detoxing and Renewing Your Liver.

20150627_172301If you struggle with weight loss, bad skin, lack of energy, pain, and everything from headaches to chronic disease, but can’t understand why, this Post is for you. Medications that you’re currently on, or have been on, could very well be the culprit.  Medications have consequences, always, despite being FDA approved and Doctor prescribed.    (Pictures of Healing Foods are sprinkled through-out. Recipes at the end. This pic to the left is Chipotle Sweet Potato-Zucchini pizza – DELICIOUS!!).

Did you know that the biggest portion of health care costs – 88% – are spent on Life Style Conditions.  That means that the majority of our symptoms are brought on from our foods, medications, actions, sleep, and thoughts.  All of which we have control over.

Food is Medicine or Food is Poison, that’s one of my favorite sayings.  Pharmaceutical drugs are Poison too, and I don’t say that enough.  Drugs are expensive (and getting more-so), loaded with side effects, and often prescribed unnecessarily or excessively.  ****

There’s a good chance that if you’re on any prescription or OTC drug, it could be interfering with your metabolism through either liver or gut disturbances, or nutrient depletion, or both.

Did you know that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in the US?  Unfortunately, before the death happens, there’s weeks, months, or years of adverse reactions chalked up to age, circumstance, or un-luckiness.

Everything we put in our mouth has profound effects on our health, our energy, our looks, and our weight.  Food affects our mood, our sleep, and our personality.  So do drugs.

Let’s focus on the Liver.

OUR LIVER BURNS MORE CALORIES THAN OUR MUSCLE TISSUE.  A LOT MORE.  Our liver performs hundreds of functions every day, and thru the night too. It’s important that we not over stress the liver with chemicals, toxins, alcohol, or sugar/flour. A toxic liver is a sluggish liver, and a sluggish liver is compromised in it’s ability to do all it’s jobs/do it’s jobs fully.

20150217_172852 (1)Fatty liver disease has become such a problem that it now affects 1 out of 3 people – 1 out of 3!!!

We need to keep our liver humming, so here’s some suggestions.

1) Access your meds, even innocent seeming meds like TYLENOL.  Tylenol, which we give to our children without a second thought, is the #1 cause of acute liver failure in the world!  Not alcohol, but TYLENOL.

Statins absolutely cause liver damage.  Anti-depressants, auto immune and cancer drugs, and pain killers/narcotics cause liver damage.

Alcohol causes fatty liver disease and sluggish liver function.

For a very large percentage of people on prescription drugs, a change in Life Style, could get you OFF your prescription drugs.  Get in touch with me.

2) Processed Sugars and Grains are tough on our liver.  Our liver is highly involved in blood sugar regulation.  Processed foods, like bread, pasta, cookies, cake, that kind of junk, send the blood sugar skyrocketing.  The liver has to go into overdrive dealing with all the extra glucose.

What does the liver do with the extra glucose?  IT CONVERTS IT TO FAT/TRIGLYCERIDES, and directs them to be stored in our fat cells. Look straight down and do a gut check to see if this is happening to you.

Another job hampered by a slow or fatty liver?  Estrogen detox, or removal.  Our liver is supposed to get rid of/eliminate, old, used estrogens.  Whether those estrogens came from our own glands, or foods like soy (huge ingredient in most processed foods) or chemicals ( personal care products, cleaning products, plastics, etc.), the liver is supposed to break them down from a fatty molecule to a water-based molecule, and then send them on their way out.  Toxic, slow livers don’t do this well, estrogens stay in the body – stored in fatty tissue, and we become “estrogen dominant”.

Men, this happens to you too.  No man should be estrogen dominant.  Look at your boobs and belly to see if you are.

3) Become a Liver-Loving-Fool!

I tell my clients what I tell myself:  think of ways to help and nurture your liver every. single. day.  Seriously.

Even if we try hard to eat clean, our world is full of toxins:  all municipal water is loaded with chemicals,  our air is polluted, there’s carcinogenic chemicals in dry cleaning solvents, make up, body care products, baby wipes, plastics, artificial sweeteners, pesticides and fungicides on fruits and vegetables, and I could go on and on.  The point is, our liver is responsible for dealing with and eliminating all this.  It needs our help.

4) Eat Liver-Loving-Foods every day:  beets, lemons, asparagus, olive oil, good whey protein, leafy and bitter greens, garlic, milk thistle, cilantro, parsley, cucumbers, ….  basically, Real Whole Foods. Vegetables, herbs and spices, healthy fats, and clean proteins, all contain thousands of nutrients that nourish, cleanse, rebuild, and help the liver do it’s many, many jobs.

Remember earlier when I said that our liver burns more calories in a day than our muscles?  If we’re debating about how to spend any extra time we have, shopping, chopping, and cooking is just as important, as exercising.  Don’t negate one for the other. Schedule in both.

5) Try these No Recipe Paleo Meals to load your body with nutrients that make your liver20150603_072541 function well and your metabolism hummm:)

Eggs and Leftovers

This is left-over vegetables ( zucs, yellow squash, onions, and purple cauliflower) mixed with kerry gold butter and 3 eggs.  EASY no brainer.

CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO-ZUCCHINI PIZZA

(from the picture at the top)

1 lg sweet potato
1 large green zuc, ring out water by twisting in a towel
1 heaping tbsp chipotle powder
3 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and pat onto a pizza pan.  Bake at 325 for 40 minutes.  Top with tomato sauce and cheese.

I’m making this again tonight and adding sausage, corn sliced off the cob, and cilantro, with shredded swiss.  THIS IS DELICIOUS!!

GREENS WITH HOMEMADE SAUSAGE, AND SAUTEED PLANTAINS

(from middle picture)

Ground sausage
Swiss Chard
1/2 an Onion and 3 Garlic cloves
coconut oil

Mix and saute in one pan, add the swiss chard last since it doesn’t need to cook as long.

Plantains:  slice, and saute in a pan with Kerrygold Butter, salt, and then put in a 250 oven for 20-30 minutes.

**** I’m not totally anti-drug; but I think it’s irrefutable that most drugs are prescribed or taken for conditions that could be fixed or managed with LIFE STYLE changes.  No one has high cholesterol from lack of a statin.  No one has a headache from a lack of Advil.  No one has high blood pressure from a lack of Lasix.  No one has diabetes from a lack of Metformin.  No one has depression from a lack of Prozac.  These are symptoms that happen from the actions we choose every day.

Summer Shape Up Part 4: You Don’t Deserve A Treat/Moral Licensing/Tomorrow Logic.

20150620_125014 (1)Hello from Aspen, Colorado!  Mark and I lived here in the early 90s, and we’re back for a long weekend.  I’d forgotten how majestic the Rockies are!

Pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with this Post will be randomly sprinkled throughout:)  You’ll see Maroon Bells, Ajax Mountain, and a 20150619_195723Food Festival – OMGosh.  Grilled Gizzards are now my new favorite food.

Did you catch my title?  If you take my group fitness classes, you’ve heard me say this a 1000 times at the end of the class.  Then I usually say, “it was just a workout, we didn’t do anything to make the world a better place.”  And therein lies my purpose in today’s piece.

There’s a theory called the “Moral Licensing Loophole”;  I learned that term in Gretchen Rubin’s book on Habits, called Better Than Before.  ( I’m ALL about habits.)  The Moral Licensing Loophole means that we give ourselves permission to do something “bad”, because we feel we’ve been “good”. (This is a continuation of my assertion that our thoughts are more important than a food plan.)

In my 28 years of working in health and fitness, I see this theory used all. the. time.  Heck.  I’ve used this theory!

Here’s some examples:

*That class was so hard, I can definitely afford wine tonight.

* That run was so long, I deserve ice cream.

* I just did 100 lunges! The french fries and cookies won’t even register with my body!

* I’ve worked out every day this week – I must have Calorie Deficit going on, potato chips and beer won’t even bring me back to normal!

* I’m going to overeat today and just work it off tomorrow, and probably the next day too.  So this doesn’t really count.

20150620_171446(0)Actually, that last one also falls under the “tomorrow logic” category.  As in, Now doesn’t matter because I’m going to follow good habits Tomorrow.

I’ve even fooled myself into thinking that extreme indulgence today will give me extra self control tomorrow.  Does that sound familiar?

Here’s some facts, followed by thoughts we need to cement in our brain:

1) Studies show that Rewards inspire TEMPORARY behavior.

2) Everything we do counts. We are the culmination of our every day habits.

3) Tomorrow-logic doesn’t work, because our actions and behaviors cause brain chemistry that perpetuates more of the same behavior, not different behavior.

Let’s look at these points a little deeper.

“Rewards only inspire temporary behavior”.  That’s a well studied, well 20150619_203249documented fact, yet rewards are used so often to motivate behavior change that you’d never know it. Think about all those 12 week weight loss contests.  Or attempts at losing weight before a wedding or a beach vacation. Who do you know that’s actually kept the weight off once the designated time frame is over?  I have to keep beating this drum:  weight loss is NEVER a big enough motivation to eat healthy and exercise forever.  If it was, 95% of everyone who goes on a diet wouldn’t gain their weight – plus a few extra pounds – back.

A “reward” implies an “end”.  When this is about weight loss, that translates to a temporary, and often heroic, effort at Deprivation, feelings of Sacrifice, and a sense of Hardship.  All of these are Negative Values.  They make us feel as if we deserve some sort of Prize at the end, usually a food prize.

SOLUTION:

20150619_200732Change your thoughts about the food you eat.  This was what my last Post focused on, but there’s more.  In addition to looking at Bad Foods as potentially cancer causing, or migraine causing, or heart disease causing, what about framing Good Foods and Good Choices in a positive light.

*”Thank goodness I don’t eat after dinner anymore, I sleep so much better now.”

*”Thank goodness I don’t drink alcohol every night, I sleep better, my face isn’t puffy, and I have better energy in the morning.”

*”Thank goodness I started packing lunch every day.  I can’t remember the last time I felt sleepy in the afternoon.”

*”Thank goodness I’ve gotten rid of the starchy and sugary carbs, my stomach is so flat!”

Positive Assertions!  Friday night we went to a food festival, which was amazing!  We both ate a lot of food, and felt pretty full.   Alright, we probably ate too much, BUT, no bread and no pasta.  ( there were no desserts, so that wasn’t even a temptation)  We got back (walked home up a mountain!), feeling stuffed, but our stomachs looked fine – honestly.

Not being bloated and sick and gassy, it’s WONDERFUL. That’s our motivation for not eating grainy, sugary carbs.  We Feel So NORMAL and good that it’s worth it.

“Everything we do counts. We’re the culmination of our every day habits.” 20150620_171508 This is why I counsel my clients to start eating well RIGHT NOW.  Don’t wait for Sunday, or the 1st, start now.  It’s not about weight, it’s about whether you’re putting foods in your mouth that make you feel good or make you feel like crap – in the long term.

No fooling ourselves that a little bit of poison doesn’t matter.  Or that falling off the wagon won’t hurt.  Everything counts.  Look down at your stomach – is it flat or puffy?  Are you energetic and clear thinking, or tired and foggy?  How’s your skin?  How’s your sleep?  Do you digest without bloating, farting or burping?

Everything counts, and here’s why:

“Tomorrow-logic doesn’t work, because our actions and behaviors always cause brain chemistry that perpetuates more of the same behavior, not different behavior.”

When we tell ourselves that we’re not going to drink the wine or eat the pasta or have the chips, and then we do, we STRENGTHEN the habit in our brain.  We don’t weaken it with our actions or our pledge to be better tomorrow, ever.  The action creates chemicals that create substance -matter- in our brain. The action makes it harder to resist next time, not easier.  If over indulgence was a deterrent, we’d have no obese people, no alcoholics, no drug addicts, no gamblers, etc.  

Indulgence begets more indulgence.  Always.

Solution:  In addition to changing your thoughts about what makes you feel good and happy, access your circumstances and surroundings.  What do you need to change there?

Could you:

*Keep your home a junk free zone.

*Pack a lunch every day.

* Make enough dinner that you have leftovers for lunch.

*Pledge to quit depriving yourself, and eat 3 meals a day of Real Whole Food.

*Make butter, olive oil, and coconut oil regular additions to each of your meals so that you’re not starving.

*Set aside time to plan your whole week, so you can schedule grocery shopping, packing, and cooking, and power cooking.

*Want a sweet or a salty?  Make It Yourself.  Learn how to bake cookies with almond flour, honey, and dark chocolate.  Learn how to bake homemade french fries in your oven. Learn how to make homemade ice cream, with real cream, swerve, and vanilla or cocoa powder.

Back to the word “deprivation”, that’s not what being healthy is about, but that’s the term and the attitude that’s been instilled in all of us since the 1970s, right?  “If you want to be healthy, you need to eat boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.”  That’s such bull crap!

I still remember Mrs Poland from my high school saying, “if you’re not hungry, you’re not losing weight”.  I believed that for decades, and it’s so wrong! Hunger and deprivation set us up to Fail, not Win.

Hunger’s the enemy, and we can keep it at bay by having hearty meals full of good fats, good proteins, and a TON of vegetables; not over exercising, and working hard at getting enough sleep.

Those are the secrets and the tricks to being a Normal Weight, feeling good, being healthy, and having nice skin.  Honest.  Get in touch with me if you need help. 

Part 3 Summer Shape Up: Change Your Thoughts About Food to Change Your Body

change aristotleYes!  to constantly working to have better thought patterns!  Yes to not accepting that we’re stuck with where we are, because we’re not amoebas – we’re humans, and our brain is literally capable of changing and growing until we die.  Or not.  It’s up to us.  Taking control of our thoughts by focusing and being intentional is exercise for the brain.

Deliberate, studied, conscious thinking keeps our brain young and vital!  This is how we grow new neurons and thought patterns, this is how we determine whether positive chemicals or negative chemicals flow through our brain.

So what are our thoughts about food?  My aim for these last few Posts is to convince you that our thoughts are more important than a particular food plan when it comes to our weight and our health.

Counting calories, tracking food, weighing, measuring, diet meals, diet this could be the daydesserts, diet pills, diet plans… their long term success rate is an abysmal 1-5%.  This stat shows that the desire to lose weight isn’t a strong enough force to change our habits permanently, and temporary changes are useless.

Unfortunately, the HABIT and PATTERN of thinking of our body as the end result of how much we diet and exercise is fairly fixed in most of our brains.

It’s so untrue.  Let’s change that!

Our body’s not a Math Equation, it’s a Chemistry Set.  Start THINKING about our body that way, start looking at food as chemicals that send signals and have consequences as to how we function and feel and perform, and we can change our body, forever.  Losing weight, getting fit, becoming healthy, that happens when we care about every bite that goes into our mouth because we understand that food’s consequences.

My last Post was on stressing about our food, and how counter-productive stress is to our weight and health.  So I’m not suggesting hours of research, or logging everything we eat on to FitDay.

I’m talking about sitting with the thought – the fact – that our food becomes us. Not just our weight, but our mood, our skin, our hair, our energy, and every cell in our body.

Our thought patterns and habits dictate what we eat.  When we believe that certain foods give us energy or heal our body or give us pretty skin, it makes us more likely to seek it out and eat it.

When we believe that certain foods cause cancer, heart disease, migraines, fatigue, diabetes, and allergies, it’s easier to avoid them.

Put “consequence facts” in your mind that allow you to make good choices:    howlongdoyouwantotcontin

– White flour raises blood sugar, insulin and triglycerides; it’s also been sprayed with chlorine gas. The EPA sites this gas as a dangerous irritant that can be lethal.  It also has gluten, which damages the gut and the brain.

– Sugar is cancer cells favorite food.  The same with High Fructose Corn syrup.  They’re both very, very easy for cancer cells to metabolize.

Garlic reduces plaque build up in the arteries.

– Sugar is pathogenic bacteria, virus, and fungi’s favorite food. So sugar feeds the bugs that make us sick.

– Avocados have fats which are great for our skin and vitamins which are good for our eyes.

– Sugar and processed grains cause high blood sugar which causes “glycation”, which damages our skin by causing age spots and wrinkles.  Alcohol – even wine! – causes glycation.

– Leafy greens are loaded with nutrients that make our skin and arteries healthy.  Beets have ingredients that help our liver do all it’s many jobs.  Cruciferous vegetables prevent cancer.

– Sugar suppresses the ability of white blood cells to kill pathogens. Sugar and our immune system are highly connected.

– Saturated fat and cholesterol make up our glands, our hormones, and 60% of our brain.

– Proteins make up our muscles, hair, skin, nails, ligaments, and organs. Proteins become the connections between the fatty parts of our brain that allow messages to jump from one neuron to neuron to another.  They also build our chemical messengers, neurotransmitters:  dopamine, serotonin, GABA, etc.

When we eat sugar and flour and hydrogenated fats and toxic chemicals, we damage our heart, our brain, our liver, our kidneys, our skin, etc etc etc.  Damage.  It’s slow, it’s subtle, it might be mistaken for “aging”, or a bad mood, or fatigue, but it’s damage, and it’s inevitable.

Damage is also revealed in an inability to lose weight.  Our bodies should be masters at burning fat for fuel,  and using nutrients to rebuild our cells.  When illness, chronic fatigue, and resistant weight loss happens, there’s our proof that Damage is Done.

habittilobserve then choiceThank God it’s possible to reverse the damage by changing our habits. Here’s an Action Plan:

– Set aside time every week for planning, as in write down your schedule.  Your work, your kids schedule, your errands, your workouts, everything, including Food.  Schedule your grocery store, keep a running list all week, make time to chop and prep, power cook a few meals and put them in the freezer.

Does planning sound stressful? Studies show that organizing and scheduling REDUCE stress.  Living by the Seat of the Pants increases stress.

– Don’t buy your trigger foods. This is a no-brainer!  Keep foods that tempt you far, far away.  Convenience of trigger foods makes resisting really tough, so don’t let them be convenient. Worried your family will object to no chips or cookies in the house?  Junk food is Poison food.  No one in our families needs that crap.  No one.  All those above listed facts on sugar and grains and their links to cancer and immune function, they apply to children too.

There’s a great study on Flight Attendants who smoke, and the desire they feel for their cigarettes while they’re on their flights. The study revealed that it didn’t matter how long the duration of the flight was, whether it was short or long, their desire for their cigarette rose as they got closer and closer to the end of the flight.  Smoking was about to go from “Not Allowed”, to Convenient, and the craving appeared.

– If shopping is your albatross, take advantage of shopping on line, or having your groceries delivered, or buying the precut vegetables or prepared meats at most grocery stores now.  At least have a list ready!

bo bennett quote– Commit to 5 minutes a day of reading information that trains the brain to think of Food as Medicine or Food as Poison.  Please.  To beat the drum again: wishing for weight loss isn’t enough to inspire permanent habit changes.  Believing our food can make usfeelgood healthy and vibrant or sick and old, can.

One of my favorite sites, based solely on studies but written for succinct, easy reads:  Green Med Info.

Need help with your habits and thoughts? Get in touch with me! I have skill set of tricks to change behavior. Imagine yourself a year from now; you could be a whole new you, you could be the same, or you could be worse. Make the choice, take the action.

 

 

Part 2 of Summer Shape Up: Stressing About Our Body Fat Just Makes Us Fatter – Really.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet me say that again:  Stressing about our body fat just makes us fatter. It’s true; and as woo-woo as that may sound, it’s very grounded in science.

Remember in my last Post  I said that when it comes to weight and our health, our thoughts are more important than a food plan?  If a good food plan was all it took, no one would be fat and sick.

One of my favorite quotes is:  “Our body isn’t a math equation, it’s a chemistry set.”  This is why low calorie, low fat diets don’t work in the long run.  We upset our chemistry when we eat that way.

I’m continuing my series on taking control of our thoughts to get control of our body.  Many of us constantly bemoan our butts, our stomach’s, our thighs, and our batwings. Constantly.

How’s that negative thinking working?

A favorite quote, “What we think about, we bring about.”   More science, more chemistry; our brain LISTENS to our words and creates chemicals and structures in response to those words.  Seriously.

Constantly bemoaning our weight and our shape and our health is called STRESS.  “Stress” is a chemical state in our body that’s really only good if we need to run away from a bad guy or perform a heroic feat.  Other than that, it works against us. (Actually, there’s more to the stress story.  “Temporary” stress can help us solve problems and get out of jams. It’s “Chronic” stress that hurts us – and makes us fat.)

A stressed-out state, for ANY reason (mental, physical, emotional, REAL OR FAKE), causes the same chemical response: an increase in hormones that dump lots of SUGAR into the blood stream.  Nothing is easier and faster for our cells to use in an emergency than sugar.  Not fat, not protein, but SUGAR.

When we feel stressed from a kid or a spouse or a co-worker or traffic or from agonizing over our weight or stressing about food or exercise, our glands squirt FIGHT AND FLIGHT HORMONES (chemicals) into our blood stream.

These hormones do a number on us:

– they inhibit fat burning in cells (never good for healthy body weight!)

– they dump loads of sugar/glucose from the liver into the blood

– they break down muscle tissue to convert to glucose (fitness friends, take note – we want that muscle!)

– they make us hungry and crave more sugar – just in case the stress is chronic (“stress eating”)

– they slow down the thyroid (not a priority), slow down digestion (not a priority), slow down sex hormone production (not a priority)

– they suppress the immune system (not a priority, and this is why stress is associated with being sick more often)

And that’s just the starter list!  The gist:  Stress Makes Us Fat and Sick, not lean and healthy.

I know I already said this, but I’m saying it again:  stressing over our weight or our food or our workouts is EXACTLY the same as stressing over a bad guy or money or a fight.  Stress is stress is stress is stress.  The same chemicals are released into the body.

Action Plan to Combat Stressing About Our Fat:

1) Quit comparing ourselves to any woman on a magazine cover.  I quit buying women’s magazines 15 years ago.  I didn’t want my 4 daughters influenced by those faked and unrealistic images. Woo-hoo! FREEDOM.  Seriously, have you ever googled what they do to those cover images to make them look so perfect?

Having those images around is like having our favorite trigger food in the pantry.  Bad stuff happens.  Set yourself up for success and control your surroundings as much as possible.

Temptations CAUSE stress.  Get rid of them.

2) Quit comparing ourselves to anyone at the gym, or in our circles, who has a better body than us.  STOP IT.  What a waste of a brain space!  And it’s stressful!  We have friends and family who need our help and our prayers.  We have a home and jobs and people who need our attention. There’s turmoil and starvation and war going on, and we’re stressing about our butt and our weight?  Let’s focus on important issues.

The Bible says to focus on Love, Joy, Appreciation, and Gratitude.  Meditation books say the same thing.  What we focus on has a CHEMICAL CONSEQUENCE.  (Hey!  Food also has chemical consequences!)

3) DEEP BREATHING.  Humming.  Singing. Breath Patterns.  Yep, really. For weight loss!  These actions stimulate our Vagus Nerve, the nerve that runs from the brain stem to every organ in our body.  When we stimulate it with deep breath, humming, and singing, it releases Happy Chemicals.

This is the polar opposite of our Fight and Flight/Sympathetic nervous system, which is the system that releases cortisol, adrenalin, and more.

The Vagus Nerve releases chemicals that actually benefit our DNA, and make our brain more creative, problem solving, and powerful.   Fight/flight chemicals (chronically produced) damage our DNA and inhibit problem solving and creativeness.

Fight/fight chemicals also deplete our willpower.

The Vagus Nerve meanders all the way into the belly; spreading fibers to the tongue, pharynx, vocal chords, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines and glands that produce the anti-stress enzymes and hormones: Acetylcholine, Prolactin, Vasopressin, and Oxytocin. These chemicals make digestion, metabolism and relaxation BETTER.

They even make us poop better!

4) Gratitude, appreciation, love for your body. Yes, you need these for weight loss.  Honestly, even a year ago, I wouldn’t have written that.  I’ve read this, been taught this, for years, but it never sunk in.  I’m wired pretty happy, so I never thought I needed this advice.  I was wrong.  We all need this advice.

Again, stressing over our body, picking apart it’s “defects”, is just “stress”.  Stress is a chemical state that inhibits fat loss, and encourages fat deposition.

I really believe this explains the strict diet and exercisers, who are just doing it for weight loss – not health, who never seem to lose weight.  

When we eat for health, our thought patterns are something like this:  “I haven’t had any fish in a few days and I really need that Omega 3.”  Or, “My throat hurts, I need some garlic.”  Or, “If I eat that, I’ll have bloat and foggy brain the rest of the day. Better stay away.” Eating for health means looking at food as Medicine, and it’s empowering!

Counting calories, measuring, white-knuckling up some willpower – NOT empowering.  At all.  It’s draining.

Try this: next time negative beliefs about your body consume your thoughts, stop them, and replace them with 5 different gratitudes about your body.

If you have difficulty thinking of 5 gratitudes, you’ve got a bigger problem than your weight!

Resource for improving your mind:  Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyers.

Learn more about the Vagus Nerve here.

Reinforce Food is Medicine here.

Go think about what you’re thinking about!

Part 1 of Summer Shape Up: Train Your Brain To Work For You.

20150530_094024I’ve been absent for 2 weeks from my blog and it’s killed me!  We’ve had 2 big graduations, parties, and extra travel; but the real reason has been that my computer died.

( Pic of our youngest daughter, Shelby, after her HS graduation, with me, and Amanda.)

Well, actually, my computer was killed by a coffee spill:(  But I finally have a new one and it’s working and all is well!

All is not well for several women who’ve emailed me in the IMG951389past 2 weeks, wanting a diet plan that’ll whip them into shape for Bathing Suit Season.  

(Pic of me and brother-in-law, Bryan, at the Juvenile Diabetes Walk in DC)

I’ve got “plans”; as that’s my job.  But here’s part of my goal: To teach that our thoughts are more important to health and weight loss than a food plan.  Honest.  Really.  It’s true.

Does this sound like you:  “I’m so fat, I’m barely going to eat.  I’m going to start every day off with either a fast, or a juice.  I’m going to workout at least 5 days a week, with sprints!  Lunch and dinner will be miniature!  Boiled chicken and steamed broccoli!  The weight will pour off, and I’ll look just like all the women on the magazine covers by the end of the month.  Woo-hoo for diets!”

Reality check:  statistically, about 100% of EVERYONE who goes on a diet gains the weight back; more than 50% gain more.

Have you heard the phrase, “Stop the insanity!” ?  STOP THE INSANITY!  Would the above plan take off weight?  ABSOLUTELY!  Would it stay off? No.

We’ve got to work on our mind; the mind’s the priority.  If we don’t train our mind to work for us, we’ll never stick to a healthy food plan, ever.  We won’t even make a healthy food plan;  we’ll make a dumb food plan that guarantees failure.

Real health and fitness, being a great weight, is about the actions we take every single day, cumulatively.  Little bursts of starvation or action have no positive results.

To stick to a healthy plan, we have to BELIEVE that food and exercise and thoughts matter, that they create us, because they do.  They really do.

20150530_094802(0)Bad foods (processed flours and sugars, chemicals, hydrogenated fats) make a bad body and a bad mind.  Nothing works right, and I’m not just talking fuzzy thinking or a big butt, which stink.  I’m talking Cancer, Heart Disease, Auto Immune Issues, Neurological Problems, Diabetes, Pain, Headaches, etc. You get the point.

( Meg, Shels, Macy, Manda after graduation )

I’m on a mission!  Food is Medicine or Food is Poison, and I want everyone to believe that so much that it affects our behavior.  This is important.  A belief that we need to lose weight is NEVER enough to effect permanent behavior change.  Never.

But a belief that Bad Food causes Cancer and Disease, in us and our children, now THAT can cause behavior change.

You know what else Bad Foods cause?  Bad decisions.  Our thoughts are actually structural.  Our thoughts and memories are literally made out of proteins.  They’re not little vaporous words floating through our mind, like in a cartoon.

Quality in, quality out.

These protein structures, aka memories, affect our decisions and attitudes.  Again, quality in, quality out.

Want productive thoughts that lead to healthy actions?  We need to be Intentional and Discipled about our health.  To be intentional and disciplined requires knowledge and application.  This is where most of us struggle, right?  Every single thing we give attention to, that we practice and focus on, grows.  If we practice and focus on training our thoughts to lead to healthy actions, we’ll lose weight and get healthy.

Honest.  It’s that simple.

But it’s not easy.  Most things valuable and good aren’t easy.  Should “easy” be a criteria for what we do?   Is that what we teach our kids?

The next few Posts I do are going to be on Training Our Brains for Healthy Behaviors – Every Day.  Not because I’m an expert at it, but because I’m a student of it.   Habits, behaviors, practiced and learned attitudes; I LOVE THAT STUFF!!  I can’t get enough of it!

When we train our mind to work for us and not against us, you know what we lose (in addition to weight!)?  STRESS.  If we believe that what we put in our mouth is going to make us tired, depressed, bitchy, bloated, sick, and fat, then there’s no decision-making-stress when that temptation is put in front of us.  A trained mind allows us to easily choose foods that are good for us.

Join me over the next few weeks as I really zero in on developing habits that lead to a lean and healthy body.  Anyone and everyone can do this.  Let’s commit to becoming the person we’ve always wanted to be.

“Take Control Of Your Habits, Take Control Of Your Life.”

“Successful People Are Simply Those With Successful Habits.”  Bryan Tracy

Part 2, with concrete action steps and mind-bending facts,  coming soon!

True Grit, Good Eating, and Lots of Pictures!

4 girls after walking cereOur #2 daughter, Amanda, just graduated from college this past weekend.  Graduation is a big deal for everyone, but this is extra special to us.

Amanda’s epileptic, and epilepsy and college aren’t very conducive; she did it anyway.  She graduated from UVa despite more seizures there cumulatively than she’s had since she was 7.  She worked through post seizure migraines and pain, pre-seizure aura’s, and memory loss due to cluster seizures.  She had more trips to the hospital than most people have in a life time.  She missed classes and had to deal with explaining – over and over again – to her professors why.

Some days she called home crying that staying at UVa didn’t seem possible, or healthy.  But she stayed, and she persevered through more obstacles than most of us will ever encounter.20150515_154723
amanda I on step FridayI don’t know why God choose Amanda for these trials.  I do know that coming out on the other end has made her really strong.

Last week, one of my friends put this on Facebook:  “On particularly rough days, when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%… that’s pretty good.”

That’s Amanda. She literally defines True Grit and No Excuses, and I’m so proud of her.

It’s easy to see how Epilepsy and Lifestyle are super related.  Seizures are20150516_115227 (1) triggered by dehydration, high and low blood sugar, alcohol, lack of sleep, stress, full moons, periods and God knows what else.  No one can control the moon, or a woman’s cycles, but food, water, alcohol, sleep and stress management, they’re all controllable. (Seizures can still have a mind of their own.)

Amanda has big, obvious results if she doesn’t manage her life carefully, but I want to venture that all of us have r20150516_094620esults from not managing our lives carefully: headaches, stomach problems, weight problems, auto-immune issues, fatigue, chronic disease, and pain. They’re just as connected to our day to day actions as Amanda’s seizures.

If my 23 year old daughter can own her health, we all can. Our health should be a priority, and the way we handle that priority doesn’t just affect us, it influences the children and friends and family who watch us.

Now for the Fun Stuff:  Pictures from the weekend in no chronological order, and details on how we stuck to Real Whole Food while traveling:)  20150516_192747 We were lucky to stay in the house of some friends – super lucky.  The house was a dream for me because I love old homes!  So much character!

I brought enough food that we ate all our meals at “home”. (I pretended all weekend that house was mine.)  For breakfast, we had eggs, chicken sausage, fruit, and cheese.  For lunch, we had lunch meats, cheese, saurkrauts, fruit, nuts, and paleo cookies.

20150516_184236It was the dinners that made the weekend!

We catered from a Charlottesville company called20150516_184253 dahcatering – they were FANTASTIC!  Organic and gluten free ingredients, lots of flavor, plenty of food, I can’t say enough good things.  They delivered everything on Friday and I just had to reheat each night.  Here’s a family pic of all of us, Amanda’s boyfriend Ian, my in-laws, and my niece Morgan.  It was party!

amanda and ian after diplomaThe first night we had salmon topped with pesto, a quinoa dish loaded with asparagus and herbs, 20150516_115513gluten free cornbread, and a huge spinach/strawberry/toasted almond/goat cheese salad.  The dessert: gluten free ginger cookies and Trickling Springs ice cream that I brought with us ( thank you dry ice!)

The second night we had chicken breasts stuffed with roasted peppers and mixed cheeses, topped with a mushroom/cream/white wine sauce, a GIANT bowl of roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes, polenta, and coconut macaroons with more Trickling Springs ice cream.

I believe good ice cream is essential to any celebration.

20150516_115035 (1)

Mark and Amanda after the morning ceremony.

amanda in cap gown

 

 

 

Amanda, as an “alumni”.

Ditch The Starchy Carbs and Paleo Indulgences to Get Rid of Winter Fluff

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve had several questions on “safe starches” and paleo indulgences. Here’s a Post with the 411 on both, and advice at the end for making it easier to get rid of winter weight gain.

If our starch is coming from a grain, as opposed to vegetables or fruit, I don’t think it’s safe – for most people.

If the grains contain the protein “gluten”, we’re ingesting one of the most common allergens out there. If we don’t see typical symptoms, like stomach ache or stuffy nose, that’s because food allergies, or food sensitivities, often manifest in sore joints, headaches, skin problems, fatigue, and auto-immune conditions.

The gluten protein is incredibly difficult to digest; humans don’t even have enzymes for gluten. Gluten goes thru the small intestine IN-completely digested, perforates the intestine wall, and leaks into the blood stream as a large protein. When our immune system sees the big proteins in the blood, it mounts an Immune Attack, and this can manifest as joint pain or an attack on different organs or systems. Pretty serious stuff.

What about gluten-free grains, such as kamult or spelt? They still contain “gliadins”. Gliadins, once digested, become “exorphins”, which are morphine-like compounds that bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Their effect is to cause Addictive Behavior, and Appetite Stimulation. This explains binges and eating way past full.

What about “healthy whole grains”, like buckwheat, quinoa, or millet? Look at their carb counts:

1/2 c oatmeal 29g carb

1/4 c wild rice 34g carb

2 oz wheat pilaf w orzo 40g carb

1/4c barley 32g carb

1/4c quinoa 30g carb

2oz whole wheat pasta 44g

Note that these serving are really, really, small; I mean, who eats a quarter cup?  Have you ever measured 2 oz of pasta?  I have.  It’s miniscule.

4 grams of carbs = 1 tsp of sugar.  2 ounces of pasta is 10 teaspoons of sugar.  Think about that.

Excess blood sugar is ALWAYS repackaged as triglycerides, always.  I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but high blood sugar is tied to every disease out there through the inflammation and glycatation it causes.  It’s also a big cause of Weight Gain.

Next, Paleo Indulgences.  I’m talking treats made with almond or coconut flour, plantains, honey, molasses, Swerve, chocolate, cream, nut butters, etc.  I’m going to call them P.I. for short, and if you need recipes, search Pintrest.

P.I.s are wonderful for kids. They’re practically a necessity when transitioning from a SAD ( standard american diet) to RWF (real whole food).  I LOVE a good paleo cookie or homemade ice cream. But unfortunately, and this is where I am right now, for weight loss, or just leaning out the Junk In The Trunk after a long winter, they need to either go, or be strictly limited.  Sad.

But summer clothes just don’t have the “hide the poochy stomach” ability that winter clothes do!

What to do? Set up your house/office so that temptations don’t trigger you.  Don’t buy anything that tempts you, because tempting food calls to us, loudly.  No lying that we’re buying something “for the kids”.  If it’s a temptation, it’s banned.  Treats need to be “treats”, and the definition of treat is: “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.”  Once or twice a week is an out of ordinary event.  EVERY DAY IS NOT OUT OF THE ORDINARY.

Girlfriends, thanks to estrogen, a propensity for slow thyroid, very little testosterone, and high cortisol, we just don’t have tons of leeway for jumping off the path of a RWF, fairly low carb diet, if we want to be a healthy weight and feel great.  It’s the price of being a woman.

It doesn’t mean we have to starve or exercise a ton – as a matter of fact, that plan slows down thyroid hormones and raises cortisol – exactly what we don’t want.  But we do need to pay attention to the details:  TONS of vegetables, plenty of good meats and eggs, healthy fats, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and some real dairy if we tolerate it.

Hours need to go by between meals so that Sugar Burning stops and Fat Burning happens.  Avoidance of foods that cause headaches, stomachaches, and skin problems is important; those symptoms are signs of inflammation, which raises cortisol, which inhibits fat burning.

So there’s my Sunday take on grainy carbs and paleo treats.  Have a wonderful Mother’s Day, and eat smart!