Yes, I am encouraging you to eat chocolate.
It’s for your own good, your sanity, and your health. I might be a health nut but I also believe in balance and food freedom, deprivation only leads to self-destruction.
I LOVE chocolate. I say there are two types of people in the world, those who like chocolate and those who prefer fruity sweets like gummy bears and sour worms. In my household we have one of each. I’m a chocolate bar girl and my husband is a gummy bear guy. Fortunately for me, chocolate is the healthier choice and my husband has found a “healthier” version of gummy bears at our local health food store.
Not all chocolate is created equal.
The majority of chocolate choices are grossly unhealthy for you. Your typical candy bar is loaded with mostly sugar, artificial flavors, soy and hydrogenated oils. The food industry has turned a once good-for-you-food into a piece of junk. But if you go down the unbeaten path (the organic aisle in the grocery store) then you’ll likely find a delightful piece of HEALTHY chocolate that can actually deliver nutrients and all other kinds of goodness to your body.
What qualifies as “healthy” chocolate?
Eating the raw version of chocolate, cacao, for its health benefits can be traced back thousands of years, all the way back to Ancient Mayan times. When chocolate is eaten in it’s most organic and raw form it contains essential minerals (magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, etc.), B Vitamins, and antioxidants like Vitamin E. Besides being packed with nutrients, research has shown that dark chocolate can also…
- Provide flavonoids to improve circulation and lower blood pressure
- Elevate serotonin in the brain to fend off depression and make you feel good
- Lower the stress hormone, cortisol
- Cacao is also made up of essential fats (similar to those found in avocados and olives) that support our wellbeing, this is part of the comfort and soothing effect that you get when you eat dark chocolate
To get the most benefits out of your chocolate choose 80% cacao or higher.
Some might think 80% cacao chocolate is too bitter, for me it’s just perfect. It’s so rich that just one or two squares makes me content and keeps me from eating the whole bar. If that’s not to your liking then shoot for at least 70% or higher.
The fewer ingredients listed the better. You want to look for USDA organic dark chocolate, and preferably one that also is verified as non-GMO. My personal favorite brand is Theo (http://astore.amazon.com/mytravelfit-20/detail/B004HHEBD4 ), it is 85% dark chocolate, certified organic and only has 4 ingredients (cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla bean).
When working with clients to cut out sugars and dairy to help them heal from the inside out, dark chocolate is my go-to recommendation for them to add a little sweetness and satisfaction in their life. It’s a guilty pleasure that you don’t have to feel guilty about!
A piece of dark chocolate a day can keep the doctor away!
In Health –
Shop and Eat Smarter
According to the UDSA the U.S. spends MUCH less on food than most other countries. In 2012 the U.S spent only 6.6% of household incomes on food, the next lowest country was the U.K. at 9.1% and out of 21 countries the highest was Pakistan at 47.7%.
So what’s contributing to this decline? The mass production of conventional food, which is driving prices lower, and the overall rise in income. So wait, we’re making more money but still cutting back our expenses on food?
Even with this low statistic most people will argue that buying organic is TOO expensive. Yet our spending on food relative to our incomes has been declining since 1960 when it was at 17.5%.
The saddest part about all of these statistics is that the quality of our food has also declined. Not only is food mass produced for low prices but the amount of nutrients in our food has decreased drastically, and let’s be frank the taste of a burger out of a box doesn’t even compare to a fresh homemade one.
I don’t know about you but I prefer to be food balling on a budget…
I am a foodie at heart. I LOVE a good steak, things drenched in truffle oil, and crispy brussel sprouts. I long for crisp fruits and vegetables and seek out farm to table restaurants for the freshest in season items. When I first start working with clients and share my love for exotic, authentic and fresh foods they often reply with “I can’t afford that”. That is until they too learn how to be food balling on a budget.
TravelFit coaching paradigm #2- You only know what you know until you know something else.
Eating organic is one of the key essentials for improved or long lasting good health and weight loss. Just like any other item that you would purchase, don’t you want to get the most value out of it? With organic foods you reduce your exposure to toxins, thus improving your digestibility AND organic foods are higher in all kinds of minerals, nutrients and vitamins.
Here are my top 4 tips for becoming a food baller on a budget:
Shop and Eat Seasonally. Growing foods out of season drives up the cost in order to recreate the normal seasonal conditions they usually grow in. When a food is in its natural season during certain times of the year you’ll find it at a bargain rate. Your body actually wants to eat seasonally too; this is why you’ll find yourself craving fruits and salads in the summer or root vegetables and meats in the winter. You need different nutrients during different times of the year.
Buy In Bulk. When I find a good deal I make sure to take full advantage of it and you just might find me lugging around 20 pounds of organic grass fed ground beef when it goes on sale at Whole Foods. Once I get home I portion out my purchase and freeze it. You can do the same thing with fruits and veggies when they are on sale seasonally, simply freeze them to keep them from going bad. Fresh frozen foods can last anywhere from 2-12 months.
Rethink Your Priorities. According to a recent survey of American workers by Accounting Principals, those who buy coffee weekly spend an average of $1,092 per year, that’s 182 cartons of organic free-range eggs (average $6/dozen), that’s 3.5 dozen eggs per week! And those $120 pair of LuLulemon pants could get you 51 lbs of organic apples (average $2.34/lb). Ask yourself what’s more important? The quality of your food, health, and natural energy or that latte or those pants that you want to make you look skinny when you really could be skinny.
Shop Smarter. One of my favorite shopping tools is EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list that prioritizes what foods are most important to buy organically due to high toxin exposure (“dirty” list) and which ones are the cleanest and most ok to buy not organic if you’re on a budget. This helps you to get the most nutrient bang for your buck.
Depriving yourself of the finest foods in life is a sure fire way to find yourself feeling deprived. When you eat foods high in quality and nutrients you’ll feel more energized and satisfied. Invest in yourself and eat responsibly!
In Health –
What’s the Deal with Dairy?
Do you sometimes find yourself feeling depressed or unmotivated? How about running to the bathroom at the most inconvenient times or multiple times a day? Have you ever wondered why in the heck you have a pimple past the age of 18?
It’s highly likely that dairy has you in the dumps if you answered yes to any of these questions.
Logically if you think about it, why are humans the ONLY mammals that continue to consume milk (and it’s products) past our infant years. Even calves stop drinking milk after a few months.
Granted mammals, including us, are born to drink milk but only up until a certain point. When we are born our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase that is specifically designed to break down the lactose that is found in milk.
Everyone has heard of “lactose intolerance” and here is the big reason why it’s so prevalent and why everyone has it…
Humans stop producing the enzyme lactase usually after weaning off their mother’s breast milk and indefinitely around the age of 5-7. So to some degree we are all “lactose intolerant” if we don’t have this enzyme anymore.
Another reason why dairy might have you in the dumps is because of a protein found in it called Casein. This protein is at the top of the food allergy and sensitivities list. The most casein rich foods are Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, and most cheeses.
Because of lactose and casein, digesting dairy products is extremely harsh on the gut. During the digestive process it damages the intestinal lining, causes leaky gut and allowing toxins into the bloodstream.
This is why you might find yourself feeling depressed, unmotivated, running to the bathroom and popping zits still after the age of 18. Food reactions show up in all different kinds of ways, not just digestive, and can present themselves up to 8 DAYS after consumption.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my cheese and a little wine with it too. So how do I keep dairy from giving me the dumps?
Go For Goats.
The level of casein in goat’s milk it about 90% less than cow’s milk making it more digestible and less harmful to the digestive system. There are a wide variety of goat milk products and cheeses at most grocery stores.
The Cream Is In The Coconut.
This is my #1 favorite alternative to any milk or cream product. Coconut milk is loaded with nutrients and natural anti-bacterials, more than almond milk. Replace your coffee creamer with canned full fat coconut milk and you’ll hardly know the difference. I’m also a big fan of coconut butter!
Abide By The 90/10 Rule.
Of course there will be special occasions to dip into the milky way but if you only do it 10% of the time then you are naturally reducing the damage it can have on your gut. When you do it all the time or every day, the damage compiles and your gut can’t heal.
If you’ve been a chronic dairy consumer for years then you may need some deeper healing therapies than just minimizing dairy intake. Remember that digestive dysfunction can present itself in many ways (anxiety, depression, skin breakouts/rashes, low energy, allergies etc.) and the deeper the damage the more symptoms will appear.
Don’t let dairy get you in the dumps, leave the milk to the cows 😉
In Health –
Should you count calories?
People ask me all the time how many calories do you eat? How many calories should I be eating? How many calories are in this and that?
I did my fair share of calorie counting for YEARS, it was all I knew at one point in time to get my clients results when I started out as a trainer. I competed in fitness shows, practiced strict calorie requirements and carb cycling to meet my goals and to look ultra lean on stage.
Then I quit counting calories about four years ago and I’ve never felt more liberated, lean and happy with my body since.
By the time a client gets to me they are usually so obsessed and frustrated with counting calories, feeling deprived and have plateaued with results. Then I give them food freedom by teaching them how to dial in their diet, never count calories again and give their body exactly what it needs to feel satisfied.
MYTH BUSTER ALERT!
The idea of counting calories came from the 1st Law of Thermodynamics…energy is neither created nor destroyed it is merely converted…so in essence the myth is that as calories are burned they are converted into heat energy and sweat and that’s what makes you lose weight.
BUT the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is based on what’s called a “closed system” meaning there is no outlet so that energy has to be converted, and our bodies are NOT a closed system. They actually have multiple holes that we excrete used energy from (hehe).
It’s time to throw out that old school of thought and get in with the new school of thought. It’s time to tune into YOUR BODY and give it what it needs to get the results that YOU WANT.
TravelFit Coaching Paradigm #5- You are unique and therefor your diet should be too.
There is no one diet fits all and that includes counting calories. Sure when you deprive your body of calories you’ll get results for a while but do they ever really stick for good?
Initially I teach my clients the philosophy of metabolic typing. Discovering the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats to fit their body. Then we use that as a foundation to really hone in on their body’s unique needs.
It’s about the quality of food you put in your body, not the quantity. When your putting the right kind of high quality fuel in your body it will turn into a lean, mean fat-burning machine. You wouldn’t put low-grade fuel in a Ferrari right? Your metabolism is your body’s fuel burning engine so treat it like a Ferrari and you’ll get better performance out of it.
Here are some quick questions to help you figure out your metabolic type…
1) Do you feel hungry and the need to eat within at least 2 hours of waking up?
2) Could you skip breakfast, just have a coffee and feel satisfied until lunch time?
3) A large breakfast that includes proteins like eggs and bacon makes me feel best and keeps me full for 2 hours or more?
4) A light breakfast of cereal, yogurt and/or fruit makes me feel best and keeps me full for 2 hours or more?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to questions #1 and #3 then you are most likely a Protein Type. If you answered ‘Yes’ to questions #2 and #4 then you are most likely a Carbohydrate Type. If you did not stand out as a Protein or Carbohydrate Type then you are most likely a Mixed Type.
I believe it’s virtually impossible to overeat healthy foods. For one, when you put the right foods in your body you’ll feel satisfied, not deprived and not wanting to eat everything in sight. Secondly you’re nourishing the body with all kinds of goodness; vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients.
Once you tune into exactly what your body is asking for then you never have to count another calorie again.
In Health –
Belly fat and the connection with your digestion.
In the United States alone, 60% of the population is dealing with at least one symptom of digestive dysfunction — gas, bloating, heartburn, candida, constipation, diarrhea, you name it.
Living with digestive problems has become the new normal. Typically, they begin as minor complaints — a little indigestion here and there, the occasional tummy ache or bout of heartburn. Sooner or later, what was once a minor annoyance becomes something that can literally take over your life. This usually happens for two reasons — embarrassment and ignorance.
But digestive issues are not something that should be ignored. The digestive system plays a critical role in making sure that our body receives the nutrients it needs and keeps out bad toxins or health offenders.
If your digestive tract isn’t functioning properly then it’s an indicator for a bigger problem down the road, and this dysfunction causes a cascade of stress in the rest of the body. Think about it. If you’re not digesting properly then you’re not getting enough protein to feed your muscles, vitamins to keep your energy levels balanced, and your body isn’t going to let you lose fat because it needs that stored energy.
Internal stress causes belly fat.
The hormone cortisol is released when the body encounters any kind of stress (internal or external). Cortisol also decreases human growth, which regulates belly fat. See how the pieces of the puzzle are coming together?
If you have digestive dysfunction, then the body is under internal stress, causing your cortisol to spike and human growth hormone to decrease AND preventing you from losing that belly fat.
Do you experience any of the following?
- Loose stool
- Don’t have at least 1 bowel movement per day
- Adult acne or skin rashes/breakouts
- Anxiety, depression or nervous stomach
- Stomach Ulcers
- Brain Fog
If you answered yes to any of these then you could be suffering from digestive dysfunction. Chances are, your doctor is unaware of the growing number of research studies demonstrating these alarming findings:
– The toxicity of persistent constipation may cause common, everyday symptoms like fatigue, attention deficit, and brain fog.
– Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis are almost always rooted in digestive dysfunction.
– The inflammation from gut dysfunction can spread throughout the body, causing inflammation in the brain, joints, and other important organs.
Most doctors are either unaware of this information or don’t care to know. Meanwhile, people like you are paying the price in unnecessary suffering, over the counter digestive aids and medical bills. The good news is that digestive dysfunction can be resolved through proper nutrition and supplementation. As a health coach, this is the foundational work that I do with all of my clients because it relates to just about all of their health issues.
If you know you have digestive issues and need help resolving them, let me know. I’d be more than happy to help!
In Health –
Have you been caught up in the juicing and smoothie craze lately? Seems like all I see on Facebook and Instagram are pictures of everyone’s latest favorite homemade smoothie or fancy juice from the new juice bar in town.
But did you know that juicing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
I commonly get questions about the benefits of juicing from friends, family, clients and potential clients… basically just about everyone.
And to be honest I’m not the biggest fan of juicing or smoothies IF they’re not done properly. Juicing and smoothies do have a proper place in your health regimen, but only if you use them correctly.
In this week’s video I talk about why juicing doesn’t work and what you should be doing instead. And here’s the link to last week’s Facts & Myths About Cleansing webinar replay where I touch on juicing even more and what you should be doing instead.
Here’s the Top 3 Reasons Why Juicing Doesn’t Work and what you should be on the lookout for to make sure you get the most out of your juice or smoothie…
#1-Juice Lacks Protein
This is the biggest problem I see with juicing, ESPECIALLY if you’re using it to detox or cleanse your body. There are 3 phases your body goes through to detox and get rid of toxins, and proteins are essential in order for phase 2 to happen. If you aren’t getting enough protein your body can’t use the detoxifying nutrients in juice adequately. To get the full benefits of juicing make sure you get in some protein.
#2- Not All Juices Are Created Equal
If you’re going to juice you better do it organically otherwise it’s just not worth it. Think of it this way, would you drink dirty water? Probably not, so why would you drink non-organic juice contaminated with pesticides and toxins? Not all juice bars, and certainly not all juices found in the grocery stores, are organic. I have found a LOT of juice bars that don’t even offer organic as an option, or you have to ask and pay a premium for it (well worth it!). And store bought pre-made juices, even the organic ones, can contain all kinds of preservatives. Drinking non-organic juice defeats the purpose and exposes you to more toxins. Go for fresh and organic or pass it up.
#3- Loss of Nutrients
Ever notice how if you cut a piece of fruit and save the rest for later it almost immediately starts to turn brown? This is called oxidation, when the cells begin to become damaged and die off, losing their nutrient value. The same happens to juices if they are not consumed right away. So that $15 juice you bought that was juiced yesterday now has less nutrient value than you think. Warm pressed juices lose their nutrient value within a few hours (commonly the pre-packaged store bought kind) and cold press juices maintain their value up to 48-72 hours. So if you’re receiving your juices ahead of time for a 3-5 day cleanse then by the time you drink them they have lost most of their cleansing properties and value. Make sure your juice is made on the spot or pick it up pre-bottled early in the morning and drink it ASAP.
And don’t even get me started on the sugar content in store bought juices! These are just a few reasons why I decided to start my Seasonal Cleanse Challenge (enrollment now open!)- to teach health-minded people like you how to Cleanse Your Body Naturally and Right! To bust myths about things like juice cleansing and to show you simple and effective ways to rid your body of toxins so you can have more energy, lose weight, and boost your immune system and health.
If you want to learn a simple and effective system for cleansing your body then you need to check out my Cleanse challenge. Or, if you want more energy, weight loss, to get rid of belly bloat and a stronger immune system then you also need to check out my Seasonal Cleanse Challenge here. (Today is the last day of early bird enrollment, save $20!)
It’s a no brainer, over 4 weeks I’ll be teaching you this simple and effective system for cleansing your body and you get all the benefits!
P.S. Today is the last day for early enrollment and to save $20 for my Seasonal Cleanse Challenge! Wondering what my Seasonal Cleanse Challenge can do for you? Then shoot me an email with your questions and I’ll be happy to answer them! See what past participants have to say…
“The challenge has been great! I’ve been super happy with how it’s been going. I’m down 6 lbs and I definitely feel better and slimmer!” Jessica W.
“My energy is up and my stomach is feeling so much better! I feel great overall and my clothes are fitting good again.” Christy J.