“If you are not sleeping, eating, and exercising, then all of this will be for naught. These core self-care skills are fundamental to your life and functioning. We can not expect to grow and move forward as people if we do not get the basics right.”
― 7Cups, 7 Cups for the Searching Soul
Day 10 update on my Alkaline Diet Challenge. Although I haven’t been perfect in selecting all non-acidic foods, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve been able to cut out all meat, coffee, and processed foods. I’ve cheated a little when it comes to dairy; I’ve eaten cottage cheese due to the fact I had purchased a new container of it prior to starting the challenge.
I thought for sure that it would be rough coming off coffee but surprisingly it hasn’t been difficult. I haven’t had any headaches or crazy cravings for my morning brew. I’ve substituted hot tea with turmeric which is perfect for taking the place of my coffee.
Results so far:
Down 4 lbs
Abs/Arms appear more defined
Allergy symptoms gone: No more mild headaches/ eyes watering
Skin looks better
I’m very pleased with my results so far; I plan to definitely continue this for thirty days. After that, I plan to re-evaluate and decide if I want to continue with this new lifestyle.
I’ve gradually cleaned up my diet over the past few years and also transitioned to more raw fruits and vegetables in my meals. However, I still suffer from mild headaches, sinus issues, and eye irritation. I recently stumbled across an article on the benefits of an alkaline diet and discovered I have many symptoms associated with being too acidic. That being said, I did some research and to my dismay, coffee is top on the list to cut out. I love coffee and look forward to it every morning to jump-start my day. Needless to say, cutting out my java is going to be a major challenge. Next on the list was chocolate. I love having a piece of dark cholate after dinner; of course two of my favorite things would have to be on the list.
Check out this picture below that details acidic symptoms:
“You will know if you are too acidic if you get sick often, get urinary tract infections, suffer from headaches, and have bad breath and body odor (when you do not use antiperspirant). Acidosis is the medical term for a blood alkalinity of less than 7.35. A normal reading is called homeostasis. It is not considered a disease; although in and of itself it is recognized as an indicator of disease. Your blood feeds your organs and tissues; so if your blood is acidic, your organs will suffer and your body will have to compensate for this imbalance somehow. We need to do all we can to keep our blood alkalinity high. The way to do this is to dramatically increase our intake of alkaline-rich elements like fresh, clean air; fresh, clean water; raw vegetables (particularly their juices); and sunlight, while drastically reducing our intake of and exposure to acid-forming substances: pollution, cigarettes, hard alcohol, white flour, white sugar, red meat, and coffee. By tipping the scales in the direction of alkalinity through alkaline diet and removal of acid waste through cleansing, and acidic body can become an alkaline one.― Natalia Rose
A measure of acidity and alkalinity of a solution that is a number on a scale on which a value of 7 represents neutrality and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity and higher numbers increasing alkalinity.
Going on a more alkaline diet means I will need to also cut out meat and dairy. Although I’ve reduced my meat consumption, I love yogurt and cottage cheese. Therefore, it’s going to be a challenge to find optional protein sources. This picture shows some examples of acidic and alkaline foods.
I’ve decided to experiment with an alkaline diet for the month of August. I’ll keep you updated on my meals and results.
I love Fridays! It’s the end of the week and I like to start the weekend off right with a great workout. If you are like most of us, the weekend means relaxing and splurging on some “not so healthy food choices.” But there’s nothing wrong with that; life is all about balance. So how do you adjust your goals on the weekend so that you don’t destroy all the grueling work you put in during the week?
I don’t know about you, but I love to eat and enjoy working out; it makes me feel good about myself. Sure it would be a lot easier on the weekends to lay on the couch and eat junk food. But what about all your killer workouts, planning your meals, and eating healthy all week? Surely you don’t want to destroy that progress over the weekend.
To keep on track with my goals, I know realistically that I’m going to be splurging a little on the weekend. Therefore it makes sense for me to offset the extra calories with extra activity.
Tip # 1: Increase your activity level. I typically get up early on the weekends and try to do at least a couple of miles on the treadmill. If I don’t have time for that, I simply do a “high-intensity interval training workout” such as this from: Muscle and Fitness
–> Perform circuit two times.
–> Rest as little as possible.
30 Bodyweight squats
10 Elevated pushups (feet on a bench)
30 Lunges (total, not per side)
10 Inverted rows (lying on the ground underneath a fixed bar)
30 Side-to-side hops (total)
10 Inverted rows
30 Close-grip pushups (either on knees or standard)
10 Underhand inverted rows
30 Jumping jacks
30 Diagonal lunges (total, not per side)
Either rest for 1-2 minutes or jog in place for 1-2 minutes (repeat)
These type of workouts are super effective and burns loads of calories. Dr Josh Axe reports that High Intensity Training
Research from the past decade continues to report that high intensity interval training actually balances both leptin and ghrelin, which increases fat burn and weight loss. In fact, burst training is one of the best ways to best manage unhealthy hunger behavior and maximize ghrelin and leptin to lose weight.
I also try to make sure I use my activity tracker on the weekends to help motivate me to get my steps in (either by moving more throughout the day or from my workouts).
Read my article below for the benefits of tracking your steps on a daily basis:
In two studies, drinking half a liter (17 ounces) of water was shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours (26, 27).
This means that drinking 2 liters of water every day can increase your total energy expenditure by up to 96 calories per day.
The timing is important too, and drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full, so that you eat fewer calories (28, 29).
In one study, dieters who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks (30).
It’s easy to keep on track with your water intake by just following these rules:
Drink water: Upon arising, with morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and with the evening meal. This schedule will keep you hydrated and help prevent overeating.
So when the weekend rolls around, enjoy yourself. But stay on track by scheduling your water breaks and increasing your activity. Take a walk at lunch, park further away from the office, or take the stairs. It all adds up.
If you don’t have time to fit in a workout, try to break the workouts into ten-minute segments. Ten minutes in the morning upon arising and then another mini-workout on your lunch hour or after work. It’s all about priorities and staying on track with your goals.
I love coffee and believe it or not, it’s actually a great incentive for me to hop out of bed early most mornings to get things done. Also, if you’re like me and you drink a lot of coffee, you may want to read my article, Is Your Coffee A Healthy Brew?
Therefore, needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for new brands and flavors of coffee and creamers. I recently found this coffee creamer in our local grocery store.
It contains MCT oil and monk fruit for a super boost of creamy flavor to your morning coffee. Per Healthline.com
Monk fruit, or lo han guo, is a small green melon native to southern China and named after the monks who first cultivated it centuries ago. The health benefits of the fruit have been well-known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for decades, but its sweet little secret is finally making it into the wellness mainstream. It’s a sweetener that has zero calories and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fat that is found in certain oils and dairy products. MCT oil is a supplement made of these fats.
MCTs have many potential health benefits, and taking MCT oil supplements may also be beneficial.
While MCTs may not lead to dramatic weight loss, they may be able to play a role in overall weight management. They may also help boost energy and endurance, although more research is needed to prove this benefit.
A growing body of research also suggests that MCTs may improve a person’s ability to think and fight the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
I never add sweetener to my coffee and most creamers have unhealthy ingredients. This creamer is a big hit with me, with natural ingredients that add a delicious, creamy- slightly sweet flavor. And best of all, I might be imagining this but I felt a boost of energy for my workout.
I’ve been teaching a TRX six-week challenge class the past six weeks and incorporated a focus on mindful eating, food choices, and a change of routine. I love TRX, AKA suspension training. TRX is a great way to build core strength, burn fat, and increase strength and mobility.
Suspension training can be done with a convenient strap system that’s inexpensive and easy to transport to any workout space.
TRX was developed by a Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick to train during deployment. It is a portable workout system that combines your bodyweight with gravity. The intensity of all exercises can be made more difficult by adjusting the angle of the body.
This six-week challenge has really helped me to break through a plateau and increase lean muscle. Additionally, my challenge group has managed to successfully improve their nutrition, lose inches, and reduce body fat. This is one of the best workouts for the core and to help define the abs.
Try my killer TRX workout below for some of my favorite suspension training exercises incorporated into a circuit (repeat 3x) Let me know how you like! Don’t forget to add a warm-up and cool down.
So it’s our discomfort – and even disgust – with the joy of eating that frightens us. And that’s because of a culture that tells us, in a thousand ways, from the time we first start solid foods, that this comfort cannot be trusted. That we cannot be trusted to know what and how much to eat. We must outsource this judgment to experts who know better – first to our parents, then to teachers; then to food gurus and big brands, who sell us on diets, cleanses, food dogmas, and “lifestyle changes.” We cede our knowledge, our own personal relationship with food, to an entire world built on the premise that we don’t know how to feed ourselves.~Virginia Sole-Smith
Our anxiety about food leaves many of us overweight and never satisfied. We define food as good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy. Many of us have a destructive relationship with food that’s a constant source of anxiety and frustration.
There are those of us who spend most of our adult life in search of the perfect diet. Many people have jumped on the bandwagon to follow the Keto diet or intermittent fasting in hopes of finally reaching that perfect number on the scale. And there are those more desperate who try diet pills with the promise they will magically transform their bodies without changing eating habits or exercising.
Our bodies are amazing, complex machines that are designed to provide us with true signals of thirst and hunger. But the truth is we’ve destroyed our natural hunger cues. We associate food with our emotions and stuff ourselves with processed foods containing foreign substances our bodies don’t recognize.
Many of us eat while watching television, commuting to work, talking on the phone, and a multitude of other distracting activities. We’ve lost the experience of savoring and enjoying meals. Many of us scarf down our food in less than ten minutes and wonder why we are still hungry when we’re done?
Have you noticed most grocery store displays are cleverly positioned in the middle of the aisles, stocked with junk foods designed to catch our eye and make our mouths water? Our bodies are bombarded daily with chemicals from manufactured foods that have left our taste buds numb and with little desire for “real food.” Therefore, we find ourselves unsatisfied and craving junk food that is shoved down our throat every day via food product marketing and the media. And how many commercials do we see on a daily basis filling our brains with images of mouth-watering junk and processed foods?
Many processed foods have been engineered to be so incredibly “rewarding” to the brain, that they overpower anything we might have come across in nature.
We have complicated mechanisms in our bodies and brains that are supposed to regulate energy balance (how much we eat and how much we burn) which, until very recently in evolutionary history, worked to keep us at a healthy weight.
There is quite a lot of evidence that the reward value of foods can bypass the innate defense mechanism and make us start eating much more than we need, so much that it starts to compromise our health
One of the common barriers to weight loss is the uncomfortable sensation of hunger that drives overeating and makes dieting fail, even in those who are obese from over-consumption of calories. Over the past two decades we have worked closely with approximately twenty thousand patients in a private suburban family practice in New Jersey specializing in nutritional interventions for weight loss and disease prevention/management. Our experience is that enhancing the micronutrient quality of the diet even in the context of a substantially lower caloric intake dramatically mitigates the experience of hunger. A diet high in micronutrients appears to decrease food cravings and overeating behaviors. Sensations such as fatigue, weakness, stomach cramps, tremors, irritability and headaches, commonly interpreted as “hunger”, resolve gradually for the majority of people who adopt a high nutrient density diet, and a new, less distressing, sensation (which we label “true” or “throat” hunger) replaces it.
This study suggested that a diet high in processed foods resulted in inflammation causing sensations of “toxic hunger” which resulted in withdrawal symptoms, and overeating. Those on a nutrient dense diet more often experienced true hunger and a decrease in overeating and cravings.
Please Tell Me What To Eat
As a personal trainer, the majority of my clients want to know about the latest diet craze and want me to tell them what to eat. Although it’s a good idea to track nutrients to assure you are getting sufficient amounts of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats; the truth is, there is no perfect diet. Many who lose weight on diets often gain the weight back once they return to old eating patterns. The key is to get back to basics and retrain your brain by adding more nutrient dense foods and gradually decreasing processed foods. Our bodies need real food to stay healthy and function properly. You can’t go wrong by going back to nature for the PERFECT DIET containing fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Therefore, it important to make gradual dietary changes to increase the likelihood of adapting to a more healthy plant-based diet. Drastic dietary changes are often unsuccessful and leave us more obsessed with labeling foods as good and bad. Instead of subtracting unhealthy foods you currently enjoy, try adding more fruits and veggies to your current meals. Learn to enjoy the experience of planning meals, researching new recipes, and cooking real food. Begin to train your brain to pay attention to real hunger cues by practicing mindful eating. Before you know it, your body will respond by craving nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables instead of junk and processed foods.
We don’t need others to tell us what and when to eat. Our bodies are designed to tell us when we are hungry and what nutrients we need. There is nothing wrong with occasional splurges of your favorite dessert, pizza, or fries, but learn to enjoy these foods in moderation. Getting back to our true hunger can be accomplished by practicingMindful Eating- 10 Simple Ways To Celebrate Your Meals.
Food is a large part of our lives. It should be enjoyed and celebrated. Learn to make peace with food by practicing these following tips for mindful eating:
Plan your meals– Search for recipes and make a grocery list- explore new foods, herbs, spices.
Make your plate colorful- Prepare a beautiful plate. Use your best china. Many people save their best china for a special occasion. Make every meal a special occasion. Celebrate food, celebrate each day of your life.
Turn off the television, take a break from your phone– It’s hard to be mindful and tune into your meals when on social media, watching television or texting. Put your phone away and turn the TV off.
Take time before your meal to be thankful- Take a moment before your meals to realize how lucky you are to have a place to sit, a roof over your head, and food to eat. There are much less fortunate who don’t.
Chew your food– Don’t gulp down your food. Slow down and chew it completely.
Take small bites- Use a fork and knife and cut small pieces.
Really taste it. Savor the smell, the taste, the texture.
Enjoy a glass of wine– If you like wine, experiment with different types and explore and research pairing your wine with different foods.
Make it a celebration– We all love celebrations. Make this family time or just time alone to relax, unwind and enjoy your meal. Make your meal something to look forward to every day.
Don’t rush it!- Take time to cook! Get the family involved cutting up veggies, setting the table and then turn onto mindful eating. As you experience the wonderful meal you prepared, think about all you have in your life to be grateful for!
“Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation.”
― T.F. Hodge
It was pouring rain this morning when I woke up and I didn’t particularly want to get out of bed. I didn’t sleep well and I had a headache that felt similar to a really bad hangover without the fun. I’m sure it was most likely due to the thick pollen all over our deck and front porch. On days like this, I try to make a decision to make the best of my day by focusing on the good things in my life. I dig down deep and REACH FOR MY FAVORITE THINGS to help “elevate my situation.”
“Regardless of Sunshine or Rain, Be Thankful for another GREAT day…and treat Life as the ULTIMATE Gift…. Because IT IS :)”
Favorite Way To Start My Morning -COFFEE
I had to teach an early class, so I jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen for coffee. Ahhh coffee makes everything better! I decided to go for “bulletproof coffee” so that hopefully the caffeine would kick in and help me forget about my headache.
I drank a large glass of lemon water and by the time I finished the bulletproof coffee, my headache was gone.
“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare,City of Ashes
2. One Of My Favorite Workouts
Workouts always make me feel better. I prepared a workout for a small group training class. I decided to start off the workout with a treadmill run and added an incline challenge. The run was a great way to get the endorphins to kick in quickly and helped the class to get pumped for the weight circuit to follow. The circuit was total body compound exercises that were completed three rounds.
3. Put On My favorite shoes (BOOTS) They always put me in a good mood! I love cowboy boots and wear them all year no matter how hot it gets.
“She wore trousers, because skirts were stupid, and boots, ‘cuz stuff needed to be kicked.”
―Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self
4. Love to cook! My Favorite Meal-is almost always- Healthy and Home Cooked!
This was such a delicious and easy meal to make. I placed a couple of organic chicken thighs on a roasting pan and seasoned them with a store-bought Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce and sprinkled the thighs with chili powder. Roasted carrots are a healthy, quick, and easy side that requires very little preparation. I scrubbed the organic carrots and basted them with olive oil.
Roast the chicken and carrots in the oven on 375 for approximately 60 minutes. I paired the baked chicken and roasted carrots with a spinach salad, sliced avocado, and mandarin orange slices.
“Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.”
―Truman Capote, Summer Crossing
I had avocado toast with eggs this evening for dinner and it was delicious. I’m always looking for ways to increase the nutrient value of my food and used mainly organic ingredients. I found a great organic bread with flax seeds for the avocado toast. This was a quick and easy meal that I paired with apple and cucumber salad and organic hash browns. (I used olive oil to pan fry the potatoes instead of butter)
“Coffee and chocolate—the inventor of mocha should be sainted.” ― Cherise Sinclair, Hour of the Lion
I always look forward to my early morning coffee experience but in the past disliked the time it took to brew and the waste of making too much coffee. I love to start my day with a fresh, hot cup of coffee to get me energized for a quick, morning yoga flow. However, sometimes I’m short on time and don’t have the luxury of time to sip and savor my morning brew.
I was so happy when I discovered the Black & Decker Brew N Go.
It brews delicious, hot coffee in less that two minutes. And to top that off, you can take it with you in an insulated cup that keeps it hot on your drive to work. Although I normally love my coffee black, I experimented with adding some flavor to my morning brew. Here’s what I came up with:
1 heaping tablespoon of Charleston Coffee Roasters Organic Sumatra coffee
A (Black & Decker) Brew & Go cup of filtered water
1 tablespoon of organic hot cocoa
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of organic coconut milk
This recipe is so quick and simple. Put 12 oz of filtered water in your Brew & Go cup and pour the water in your coffee maker. Add one tablespoon of coffee to the filter. Once you’ve added your water to your coffee maker and your brew cup is empty, add cinnamon, cocoa mix and coconut milk to your brew cup.
Now simply place your cup in the coffee maker and brew. Your delicious hot steaming cafe mocha will be ready in less than two minutes. ENJOY!!
Also, if you drink a lot of coffee like I do, check out my article: