If you REALLY love your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! There are two distinct camps when it comes to celebrating this holiday. Many, like me, love this holiday and thinks it’s adorable! And there is the anti-Valentine’s Day camp who think it’s holiday created by the greeting card companies to take our money.

Somehow over the last few decades, we have turned our Holidays into Foodidays (Yep! I just invented that word). Meaning that whether it’s Christmas, Birthdays, St. Patrick’s or Valentines it has become inextricably linked to FOOD.

Before Christmas even passed, stores start receiving boxes and boxes of pink and red candies. I’m not sure why our expression of love on Valentine’s Day has become wrapped up in giving out artificial foods!valentinecrap

Making our holidays about giving sugar heavy treats sends the opposite message than what we are trying to say. What is actually coming in a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates are processed chemicals, causing damage to our gut bacteria, and sugar which can causes more illness than smoking.

Many of you might be rolling your eyes right now and saying “It’s just once a year”, or “They’re just kids”. But is it really only one day a year your kid eats sugar heavy treats? Most likely not.

Our culture has shifted dramatically. I remember stories from my Grandmother of maybe once a month, going to the corner store to get a Coke. The unfortunate truth is that once a year has turned into once a day for many and at least once a week for most. 50 years ago the average American ate approximately 4 pounds of sugar per year. NOW, we eat approximately 156 pounds per year as of 2015.

Our bodies were not designed by God to handle and process this amount of sugar. Excess sugar is just as toxic to the liver as alcohol causing many to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease even though they abstain from alcohol. Sugar is the most inflammatory thing you can put into your body and is not just the root cause of metabolic syndrome, but now scientists are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes.

Let’s break the cycle with this generation by making wise choices. Here are some of my favorite ideas to turn Valentines Foodidays back into a Holiday expressing our love for one another!

SPOUSE:

1. Cooking a healthy meal together. Keep it fun and don’t take it too seriously. Use it as a time to discover new foods and try unique recipes.

2. Study God’s word as a couple. Going hand in hand with keeping our bodies as a temple, make a conscious effort to start the habit this valentines day. bible-hearts-18066504You could even start with Song of Songs, a great book that focuses on biblical love and intimacy.

3. Make them a gift! I will never forget the year Ben took an old mirror, which had sentimental meaning for me after Katrina, and turned it into a jewelry holder. One year I got a jar with 365 things he loved about me with instructions to open one a day for a year. The choices are endless and you might have the supplies needed already at home.

4. Give them the gift of time. Block out a few hours to intentionally spend time with your Spouse. Whether it costs money such as going to dinner, movie or a concert. You could also choose something more inexpensive like a scenic walk or look into the free days offered at your local art museum.

KIDS:

1. Cook WITH them! Having kids in the kitchen can seem like a headache but I promise it is so rewarding. My granddaughter loves to make almond flour banana bread with us. Kids love getting involved! Having them help you shop and prepare a meal is an easy way to teach them about their food choices.

2. Get crafty. Pinterest is full of ideas that are simple an easy. A great substitute for the traditional candy gift.

3. Have a family date night. Get the whole crew together for a fun dinner out or a matinee movie. Or get your family active by going to a Trampoline Park or the skating rink.

4. Sugar-Free Gift Ideas: For older kids gift cards can be a huge hit. Whether a clothing store or even a gas gift card let’s them have some ownership in choosing the most appropriate gift. For the younger kids there a ton of heart-themed gift options. Stuffed animals, valentine socks, crazy heart leggings, or earrings. You can even find some great choices in the Dollar Spot!

5. Build something together. No matter your gender, your kid will love this. Make a woodworking project. There are great kits available at most craft stores. Also many Home Improvement stores offer weekend classes to make and take an item for yourself!

I’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg with healthy ways to say “I LOVE YOU”! When my husband writes me a love note or makes me something it expresses affection deeper than an expensive gift or a heart shaped box of candies. What are some of your favorite Valentine’s alternatives?

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

Faux Trail Mix

We all have at one time or another in life eaten trail mix and thought we were being healthy right?  Big mistake unless you are on a ten mile hike. Trail mix is loaded with calories and carbs and sugar. trial mix fruit is pure concentrated sugar and so is the chocolate many mix’s use.  We have all seen this meme right?  It is so true!!!  This is just not good for us unless we are competing in an endurance event.  So I have come up with a faux trail mix that I use as a popcorn alternative when we go to the movies.  It is also a great sweet treat to add to a party menu.  It is very easy to make and takes just a few minutes!  Check it out!

 

First off go out and buy any 2-3 flavors of Atkins bars.  Choose the ones with 4 net carbs per bar or less.  I used these last time.  27653339_10155220849870983_512512883_oTo make a large batch I use 8 bars.  SO two from each box.  There is no right or wring set amount.  Just use what you want! The only other thing you need is a can of mixed nuts.  Preferably the deluxe kind with no peanuts.

 

 

 

 

Unwrap the bars and cut them up.  I slice once lengthwise down the center, and then cut each half into 6-8 bite sized pieces.  Then I just throw them into a bowl, pour mixed nuts in and mix it up.  BOOM!  That is it!  This is a great sweet and salty treat that is low in carbs and sugar and high on nutrients.

 

So easy and fast!

Enjoy!

XOXO

Erin

5 Ways A Low-Carb Lifestyle Can Help With Weight Loss

Low carb diets are common in the weight loss spectrum. Many studies have shown them to result in more weight lost as compared to the standard low-fat diet plan. Explaining why low-fat and the low fat craze has destroyed our health as a country is a complex topic for another day.  I am actually teaching a class on this very topic at my church on Wednesday nights. So yes low-carb is the way to go.

However, diets in general usually come with issues.  There are usually good parts to every diet out there.  But they all also have extreme components that can be difficult to keep up for life and often are not the healthiest choices.  I say ditch diets.  The word itself invokes a thought of death.  YUCK.  I prefer to make lifestyle changes that are not quite so extreme for my clients and they see real success.

Starting a sugar-free and low carb lifestyle has so many health benefits, including the fact that it is highly effective at eliminating visceral fat, such as that in the belly, a most dangerous type of body fat.  The reason is that as we stop putting excess sugar and starches into the body, the body begins to burn what we already have stored.   We will cover this in more detail below.

What Exactly Is A Low Carb Lifestyle?

A low carb lifestyle is a way of eating where carbohydrates- and especially sugar and refined sugars are drastically or significantly, cut from the diet. When one’s diet contains fewer carbohydrates, the body no longer gets its energy from the glucose they would produce and instead begins to burn stored fat for energy.

Starchy and sugary carbohydrates are substituted with a LOT more vegetables that are not starchy as well as healthy fats and a moderate lean protein intake. Carbohydrates in this lifestyle come from natural sources from nature that are also nutrient dense such as seeds, nuts, and beans in addition to non-starchy veggies and berries.  Sugar, pastries, pasta, bread, cereal, rice, or any other starches are no longer or very rarely consumed.

While cutting out most of the processed sugar and refined carbs is excellent for health, let’s take a look at the benefits for weight loss.

How Does It Aid Weight Loss?

  1. Triggers Ketosis: NOT THE SAME AS CLAIMS BY COMPANIES SELLING PACKAGED EXOGENOUS KETONES- Eating a low carb lifestyle triggers a process known as ketosis, which is where the body begins to burn fat for energy instead of dietary carbs, which is a very efficient way to burn fat stores and lose weight. Side note– please do not be fooled by companies trying to sell you exogenous ketones. This is the biggest rip-off going at the moment and it makes my skin crawl as a nutritionist.   These supplements actually do not do anything beneficial for the body.  When you get your body into ketosis it will make ketones on its own.  These are called endogenous ketones.  What you get in these prepackaged products is a compound that will suppress hunger temporarily and in some cases, give you energy and caffeine boosts, because of the added ingredients like caffeine (synthetic) that they contain for energy.  If your goal is weight loss and fat burning you are only hurting the long-term process.  They can also cause blood sugar spikes which are NOT a good thing.  The only benefit of these products is help with the low energy and fatigue that come with carb detox for the first week or so, and there are much cheaper and easier ways to do this.  Once the body is in a natural state of ketosis (which happens with a low carb eating style) it begins to burn stored fat.  Therefore, these ketones you bought and spent a lot of money for are  quite literally going down the toilet, or urinal.  If you want to be in a constant state of ketosis stay under 25-30 net grams of carbs per day.  I hate to bust your bubble, but that magic pill or potion or surgery you are seeking to lose weight and keep it off DOES NOT EXIST.  Any product that tells you it can get you to a healthy weight and keep you there without changes to your eating habits is a scam.   WE MUST learn to eat real food from nature and treat our bodies as the temples they were created to be. THE BIGGEST ISSUE WITH EXOGENOUS KETONES- Once you stop taking them, the damage is already done and now your body will have an even harder time burning fat and carbohydrates.  A low carb eating style is the only way to keep that weight off permanently along with having a balanced gut, and moving your body as much as possible. SKIP THE DIETS AND DO NOT fall for the latest diet fad of exogenous ketones please!  OK back to the topic:
  2. Eliminates water weight: People who have changed to a low carb lifestyle typically lose quite a bit of weight in the first two weeks, likely, this occurs when water that is tied to glycogen comes off the body and is actually a quite encouraging event that supports the continuation of a healthy lifestyle. Many of my clients who start using the probiotic and vitamin drink and magnesium from Plexus see the same thing. The body stores waste.  Getting rid of it is a great start to losing weight.  BUT do not let this fool you into thinking you are going to keep losing at this pace.  To do so would be unhealthy and unrealistic.
  3. Eliminates insulin trigger foods: Starches and sugary carbs are insulin triggers that cause blood sugar spikes that lead to hunger, overeating and ultimately weight gain. While living a low-carb lifestyle, these insulin triggers are eliminated so the body can burn fat instead of storing it.  One of the biggest things that causes blood sugar spikes, and then dangerous crashes in my bariatric friends is any kind of starchy carb.
  4. This lifestyle is higher in protein: Protein helps keep you full and satisfied so you naturally eat less and it also helps to increase lean muscle mass that promotes fat burning. I always try and start my day with a good protein source and advise my clients to do the same. This helps to keep you feeling full and also helps to regulate blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.
  5. This lifestyle regulates the appetite and naturally reduces calorie intake: A low carb lifestyle naturally regulates the appetite because all of those insulin triggering foods that wreak havoc in the blood stream and cause hunger and out of control cravings are mostly eliminated. Most people find that by week 2-3, the appetite naturally decreases quite a bit. This is another reason weight loss happens.  For my green brain research friends- check this out- I found this info in a medical journal online-

    “Additionally, Researches from St. Louis and Japan (Banks WA1, Coon AB, Robinson SM, Moinuddin A, Shultz JM, Nakaoke R, Morley JE, et all) found that the hunger regulating hormone leptin is positively affected by the low carb diet’s ability to reduce triglyceride levels in the body, which allows that hormone to work more effectively in regulating the appetite.  When people embark on a low carb lifestyle, their appetite significantly drops naturally, and they naturally feel satisfied with less food, resulting in weight loss as they naturally eat less calories and without suffering and starvation. “

 

Is A Low-Carb Lifestyle Safe?

This is a frequently asked question, which is common amongst people wanting to embark on a low carb journey.

It may have side effects for some during detox, while others may experience nothing. Usually any side effects are short lived. The same way a drug addict experiences withdrawals from heroin and cocaine, a sugar/carb addicted person will experience withdrawals during the first week or so of detox. Common withdrawal symptoms include moodiness (take your Vital Biome), headaches (add caffeine), and fatigue (take a good multi-vitamin like X-Factor Plus). In general, statics and research show a low-carb lifestyle to be highly effective for weight loss, and to also reduce risks for cardiovascular disease far better than low fat eating plans.

In conclusion, a low carb lifestyle aids weight loss by triggering ketosis, a metabolic state where the body uses stored fat as its source of energy. But it is important to EAT YOUR PLANTS!  Do not subscribe to ANY particular DIET, and instead try and eat all real food from nature, created by God and as little sugar and starches and processed packaged foods as possible.

This will result in optimal nutritional health and will also aid in gut health and weight loss!

XOXO

IN HEALTH!

Erin

Help! I Miss My Carbs: How To Overcome Your Carb Addiction

Deciding to go cold turkey on your favorite carbs (yes, the same ones that are bad for you, but so delicious) could be the hardest time in your life.

In fact, sugar addiction is a very real thing, not just a made up condition in the figment of your imagination. food-man-person-eatingIt is being researched more and more these days, and it has been discovered to share similarities to drug addiction, whereby pleasure and reward centers in the brain are constantly seeking their next “high” or feel good moment. Science has even shown us that sugar is ten times as addictive as cocaine and heroin.  This is why I preach to as many as will listen, about the dangers of excess sugar.

However, the good news is that carb addiction is not impossible to break. In fact, after just 2 weeks or so of going low carb, you can do without them much easier, and you will not be subject to violent mood swings and out of control cravings. Let me warn you though, the first two weeks can be tough.

So how exactly can you stop missing those carbs, and overcome your addiction? By following some easy tips and making sure your gut is healthy and you are getting the right vitamins and minerals. Here are some tips that will help:

Prevent Hunger From Occurring

Sometimes, the difference between a craving and true hunger is confusing. In general, if you hear or feel your tummy “rumbling” you’re hungry. At other times, you think you’re hungry, but no signals are being sent from your tummy.  Also, often we think we are hungry when in fact our body is thirsty and in need of more water.

The best way to prevent this?

Eat timed meals. If you find waiting 4 hours between meals isn’t quite working for you, divide that one larger meal into two smaller servings, which can be taken two hours apart. Ensure the meal is rich in protein and non-starchy vegetables, and a small amount of high quality fat, as they are all very filling and will shut down your desires for sweets and starches.

In addition, when you begin to burn fat for energy, as you will on a low carb lifestyle, you will not experience blood sugar spikes, which also helps to naturally regulate the appetite, as long as you eat protein and non-starchy veggies, and healthy fats on a regular basis.

Keep Yourself Busy

Do you notice that you, or your kids tend to gain an extra 5, 10 or 25 pounds during holiday or vacation times? Even though you may not be travelling and trying exquisite cuisine, the act in itself of being home all the time, and often bored paves the way for overeating. Take walks, find projects around the house, and just spend time with loved ones enjoying life.

Binging on carbs offers a short time fix for feelings of boredom, like smoking a cigarette to fix an itch. Keeping yourself engaged in activities will help distract your mind from useless snacking and possibly starting an addiction if you haven’t yet developed one.

Stay Happy

Know what is absolutely jaw-dropping? The fact that a study revealed that cravings are not necessarily a result of hunger, but rather your mood. For many of my clients especially those who have had some form of weight loss surgery, (if you have had that surgery then there is a 95% chance you have a food addiction) there is an issue of emotional eating.  That was definitely me.  I can recall my former 350-pound version of myself having a bad day and hitting up the drive through at McDonalds and ordering 5-6 cheeseburgers.  Clearly this was not physical hunger.  Emotional issues are usually at the root of weight issues and food addiction issues. There is always a trigger and those triggers are different for each person.

Normally, it is some sort of depression- having lost a family member, being bullied at school, having no friends or sheer boredom.

Food does improve your mood, albeit for a very short period of time, but then just leads to you wanting more- and more frequently that bag of chips or candy. It is a vicious cycle that seems to never end.

Instead of filling up your thoughts with somber, woe-is-me thoughts, do something to take up your time, such as visiting somewhere new, doing something you truly enjoy, getting some exercise or going to a movie. Utilize the power of prayer.  God hears us when we talk to Him and sometimes if my day is not going so well, I just turn it over to God and ask for strength and peace and happy thoughts.

Find Replacements and use GOOD supplements

Sometimes you need something tangible to fill the void created by the absence of your favorite sweet or carby starchy treats. Good options here include foods like fatty fruits (avocadoes, olives) protein, and bulky non-starchy veggies.

For me, staying faithful on my gut health supplements really makes a difference and helps keep cravings at bay.  triplex-clinical-studiesI find that when I forget my vitamin Pink Drink, probiotics or my magnesium, even for just a day or two, my body can go back into carb craving mode pretty fast! Gut health is no joke and is a real thing and with our environment and state of our current food supply, we ALL need to be on good nutritional supplements even when eating well. I use Plexus because of the quality and clinical studies to back them.  Plus they are plant based.

Conclusion

The key to getting over missing carbs is surviving the first two weeks, keeping your gut healthy and balanced with good supplements, and keeping the carbs out of your house and your sight. It is futile trying to break the cycle, when you have cookies stashed in your pantry begging to keep you company.  Oh and before you say you have to keep a snack stash for the kids, no you don’t.  They don’t need the junk either!  We are raising a generation of sugar and carb addicted kids and it is my mission to break the cycle with this generation through education.

XOXO

In Health!

Erin