Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss - What’s the Difference?

 
What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.
 

Often when we discuss losing weight, we are really discussing fat. The problem is that they are not a one-to-one thing but we emotionally think they are.

Too often we are dictated by the tyranny of what the scale says, we think it’s telling us exactly how “fat” we are in a given moment.  It goes up, it goes down, and at times it seems to have a mind of its own.

It can really mess with your mind when you’ve been working out, are feeling good, and visually look better, but STILL, the scale weight either stays the same, barely changes, or even (God forbid) goes up! Many times as a trainer, I have to talk folks off the ledge when this happens. What gives!

Unfortunately, the scale is often the ONLY tool folks use in order to track whether or not they are losing body fat and the scale number comes to define whether they are being successful or not.

What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.

What does the number on the scale really mean?

Truthfully, for a fat loss goal, the scale by itself is a fairly crappy measuring tool. It will tell you your weight but it can’t differentiate WHAT that weight is composed of. Items such as fat, muscle, water, waste and so on. Your scale weight is simply your current relationship to gravity. That’s it. We all (me included) attach too much emotion to what that number sometimes signifies.

Our body weight is constantly changing a little bit up and down every day. The scale can’t tell us what percentage of our weight is water at a given moment (more or less dehydrated), whether we have gained muscle from training, lost some body fat, what one’s current hormonal state (ie. where someone could be in their menstrual cycle), what current waste is being held in our bowels or bladder, or whether we have been having more (or less) carbohydrates in our diet.

For example, for every 1g of carb you take in, your body also holds onto about 3g of water.  So if you consume say an extra 200g of carbs on a given day, that’s an extra 600g of water right there. 1lb = approx 454g so that 200 grams of carbs you just ate represents almost 2 more lbs right there between food and water in your system.

Losing fat and losing weight are NOT the same thing. 

They have a relationship but they are not one and the same.  It’s important to try and emotionally understand that, as hard as it is sometimes. What you SHOULD focus on most when thinking about losing WEIGHT is actually losing body fat, gaining muscle, and in-turn changing the SHAPE of your body.

Really, in the end that is what we mean by losing weight. We really want to feel a certain way or look a certain way. 1lb of fat takes up a lot more space in the body then 1lb of muscle. 

For example, if you lost 5lbs of body fat BUT also GAINED 5lbs of muscle you would weigh exactly the same on the scale but would look much different and your body would have a different shape.

 
What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.
 

Here are 4 tips for measuring your progress:

First things first. If you are trying to lose body fat, focus on making a plan, following a reasonable, balanced nutrition and fitness plan and stick to it. When you track anything, scale weight or not, it should be measured against how your plan is working out or not.

1) Reduce your frequency of getting on the scale

If you are a chronic weight scale checker I encourage you to reduce the frequency you get on it and torture yourself. I have absolutely no problem with checking body weight but anything more than 1x a week or every other week is plenty. Remember that the scale weight doesn’t give you the whole story, it won’t take into account other factors such as fat, muscle, water weight, waste, food, bloat, etc.

2) Take circumference measurements

In addition to checking your body weight, another tool you should be using is a tape measure to take circumference measurements. You can buy a very inexpensive tape measure for under $4 and take them at home. Remember that when your goal is to change your waistline or body shape, a tape measure is going to be a much better tool to use than a scale to measure and track change in your body.

3) Measure with a piece of clothing

One of our favorite measuring tools with clients in our programs besides photos and circumference measurements is using a piece of clothing to measure progress. usually, a pair of tighter pants or jeans works well. You can check progress every 2-4 weeks and see if they start to become loser on you.

4) Take pictures to track your progress

It can be very easy to forget what your body looked like before you started on your fat loss journey. Even if you are noticing changes, they most likely are subtle changes over days, weeks, months and you are not going to really remember precisely where you started. As much as we all hate taking pictures of our body when we are not in our best shape, just DO IT! We have had clients tell us that they don’t think they’ve made much progress with the way their body looks, only to find out later that they actually made HUGE progress in their body composition when looking at their before and after photos side-by-side. It’s easy to forget where you started once you’ve already made progress and only see the way your new body looks.

Once you take your “before” photos just set them aside and forget about them for the moment. Don’t sit there and judge them. If you are making changes you WILL look differently as you go and really what the end product looks like is much more important than where you started. We recommend taking updated progress photos every 2-4 weeks and throwing them into that same folder to look at down the road when you are ready or entering the photos into a fitness app that will allow you to see your progress shots side-by-side. When taking your photos, try taking them at the same time of day, morning is usually best and if possible, in the same outfit or swimsuit. Again, If you are serious about making a healthy lifestyle change, and stay consistent with your workout and nutrition plan, you WILL see major changes in your body!

Whatever you choose to do to track your progress, just remember, body weight and body fat are not the same thing and that the scale is mostly just telling you your relationship to gravity in a given moment. Change doesn’t happen overnight so just keep focusing on making positive changes for your body through good nutrition and fitness habits. Your hard work WILL pay off in the end!

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.
 

6 Healthy Habits to Adopt Before 2019

6 healthy habits to adopt before 2019. The time to start a healthy lifestyle is now!

As of today, we only have 55 days left in 2018 - I can barely wrap my mind around it! Chris and I just celebrated our first year of marriage on October 27th and it’s hard to believe that a year already flew by since then. I guess this is just how life goes when you are adulting!

Right around this time is when everyone is buzzing about the holidays (I literally just bought 2 small glittery Christmas trees from Target yesterday and it’s only the first week of November - I am part of the problem), before you know it, those 55 days will have zipped right on past us and we will be staring 2019 in the face!

It’s been mine and Chris’ goal this season to help our clients and you build healthy habits BEFORE the New Year starts instead of waiting until January 1st when all the damage is already done. Just because you will be celebrating with holiday parties, desserts, cocktails, and dinners, doesn’t mean that your entire rest of the year is already ruined.

Read Chris’ post: 5 Tips for how to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

So, I have listed some super easy tips that you can start implementing today to help you de-bloat and feel awesome all throughout this holiday season. It’s not about perfection, just start making better choices and building healthier habits that will help you feel good mentally and physically! 

 
6 healthy habits to adopt before 2019. The time to start a healthy lifestyle is now!
 

 

  • Drink half your body weight in water -

    One of the easiest things you can do daily that will help you look and feel healthier is make sure you are drinking enough water? Drinking water can help improve digestion which decreases belly bloat, flushes out toxins from our environment as well as all the yummy goodies you will consume this holiday season, help you have clearer skin, and help you fight of cravings! Everyday you should aim to drink about half your bodyweight in ounces of water? So say you weigh 150lbs, then you should drink about 75oz in water throughout the day! So easy and refreshing! Want to bump up the refreshing factor? For added taste and benefits such as better digestion and a possible weight loss boost - make your first morning cup of water, warm and add half of a fresh squeezed lemon to it.

  • Start meal prepping and make it a weekly habit -

    This is an easy one but so beneficial! When you cook your own meals, you are in complete control of the foods that goes into your body! You have the power to eat foods that make you feel energized and healthy. How amazing is that? Meal prepping weekly can save you lots of time, money in your pocket, and inches around your waistline. It can seem like a daunting task, but really what isn't when you are first learning something that is new to you?! You just have to remember that it will come easier over time! Check out these tips on how to get started meal prepping as soon as tomorrow!

  • Start taking a high quality probiotic -

    We have about 100 Trillion bacteria in our digestive tract which weighs about 3 pounds. So as you can imagine these guys make a pretty big impact on our health. Our gut is full of 85% good and 15% bad bacteria which helps to keep our immune system strong, keeps us happy – about 80% of our serotonin is in our gut, It helps to maintain healthy gut flora so we can reduce inflammation as well as avoid leaky gut syndrome which can cause food allergies and sensitivities, eczema, weight gain, as well as a host of other issues, and keeps our digestion running smoothly. Many things we put in our body such as antibiotics, medications, alcohol and certain processed food can kill off both these beneficial bacteria. Supplementing with a high quality probiotic supplement (this is the one we use and suggest to our clients!) with at least 15 billion live organisms as well as probiotic-rich foods like kefir and sauerkraut can help you to be healthier by keeping your gut flora in check and digestion functioning better. Better digestion = flatter belly!

  • Chew your food well -

    Digestion begins when you first see and smell food, this gets your saliva going which contains enzymes to help break down your food as you chew. That's why having a quiet moment before you eat is so great, you can sit in prayer or a quiet moment to give thanks while you let those enzymes start working! Next we have to slowwwwww down! Most of us do not chew food properly as a result of being distracted and rushing through meals. Large chunks of food then go through the digestive tract without being broken down properly making it harder for our stomach acid to break down properly. It is important to really focus on the food you eat, try eating without distractions such as TV and phones (I know that seems impossible but you can do it!). Really concentrate on the look, feel and taste of your food. Chew until it becomes liquid in your mouth or aim for about 20-30 bites depending on the type of food you eat. As we get older our body produces less enzymes so we have to give our digestive system as much help as possible!

  • Move your body every day -

    Keeping your body moving every day is key to stimulating circulation, creating a healthy digestive system and maintaining good energy. Exercise helps you to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, which can cause you to store fat in your midsection. When you are under constant stress, your body goes into "fight or flight" mode and holds onto fat for dear life. But daily exercise will actually create a healthy stress on your body which in-turn helps you to deal with other life stressors in a healthier way and also helps to boost your mood by releasing endorphins, your bodies natural pain-killer and mood elevatorWin-win!! Getting in about 30 minutes or more of exercise a day will help improve your daily bowel movements and will make a huge difference in every aspect of your life! We get into this practice with the ladies in our 28 Day Beat Belly Bloat group via our fitness app so they can keep on top of it! Don't get overwhelmed, just start moving. Take a walk, jog, weight lifting session, a hike, a class at your local gym or a yoga class. You can also check out these workouts to get you started at the gym or in your home! The time to get started is now!

Supplement with Magnesium daily -

Taking magnesium daily is vital for great health because it can affect everything from headaches to our sleep. Magnesium helps control over 300 bio-chemical reactions in the body so when we become deficient, it can lead to things like headaches, migraines, constipation, moodiness, insomnia, dizziness, PMS, restless leg syndrome, eye twitches, leg cramps (hello Charlie horse cramp at 3am!!) and so much more! Most Americans are deficient in magnesium due to lack of it in our soil and therefore the food we eat, poor nutrient absorption, and it leaving the body through both sweat and stress. Magnesium deficiency has personally affected my health in many ways and it may be unknowingly affecting yours in ways you would never think of. I take 400mg of magnesium citrate each night before bed each night. Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin by taking a relaxing Epsom salt bath at night with 1-2 cups of Epsom salt in very warm water or magnesium spray on the bottoms of your feet. Add some lavender essential oils in your epsom bath as well to get the most amazing spa-like experience! Your body will thank you for adding in this vital mineral!


So there you have it! You don’t have to wait until the New Year to start implementing healthy habits. You can use these tips and start right now! Do you have any tips to share that have made a big impact on your life? If so, share them in the comments!


Want to learn more about how you can stop bloat from happening?

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Amber shares 6 healthy habits to adopt before 2019. The time to start a healthy lifestyle is now!
 

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

Do you have foods that just trigger belly bloat for you? It's ok if the answer is no because a lot of folks out there just can't quite put their finger on the culprits.

I have 3 main foods that I really try my very best to avoid if I want to keep a flat tummy. This is especially critical if (1) I am wearing a form fitting dress, (2) if I am in a swimsuit, or (3) I want to look hot for my hubby :)

These are foods that are common in most all of our diets because they are in a lot of packaged foods and on our plates in most restaurants. These foods are known to cause inflammation in the body in general and especially if you have a food intolerance to them.

When you are in a constant state of inflammation, it causes weight gain, insulin resistance, and also messes with your hormones. So food intolerance or not, it’s a good idea to limit these and other inflammatory foods as much as possible!


3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

  • Soy - After experiencing tons of bloating and gas anytime I ate soy, then doing an elimination diet and later food allergy testing, I learned that I was allergic to soy. All forms bloat me such as tofu, soybean oil, also called “vegetable oil” (one of the main oils that many restaurants cook with!), soy milk, soy sauce, soy lethicin (a binding agent ALSO in everything, think most packaged foods - hint hint...check the back of a Cliff Bar). So many people have an allergy or intolerance to soy but they simply don't know because it's in their diet nearly all of the time.

Soy not only causes inflammation in the body for many but it also contains phytoestrogens which mimic estrogens in the body of both men and woman. For men it can cause feminine characteristics to take shape (think man boobs), and for women it can cause serious health issues such as hormone-related issues, infertility, and breast and cervical cancer just to name a few issues. I seriously cringe anytime I see anyone feeding soy to children whose little reproductive systems haven't fully formed yet.  

  • Dairy - This is another major bloat food for me that I discovered when I did the elimination diet and realized I was lactose intolerant and allergic to soy. When you are lactose intolerant, it simply means that your body does not produce lactase which is the enzyme that you needs to break down milk sugars.

Dairy is another food that 75% of people around the world can't tolerate and yet they still consume it quite a bit. It causes digestive upset, stomach cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, acne, headaches, constipation and more. I'm sure when you hear the word dairy, it seems like a no brainer as to what that entails but you would be surprised to hear how many people tell me "I've gone dairy-free for a month!" only to find out they are still eating butter, whey protein shakes, half and half creamer, and even cheese. I don't judge because I too was just in the beginning stages of an almost dairy-free lifestyle at one point and I know how hard it can be to change old habits. 

  • Canola oil - This horrifying oil is high in trans fatty acids and causes inflammation in the body which for me and many others = major belly bloat! Canola oil is also commonly called “vegetable oil” and is a highly processed, genetically modified, rancid cooking oil that a ton of restaurants also use along with soy, as well as it's in nearly every food on the Whole Foods Market hot food bar (this used to be my go to food option, bummer!!), most all common hummus brands that are on the shelves (um hello, hummus is supposed to be made with EVOO!), and again most packaged meals and foods like my beloved tortilla chips. Here you can learn more about canola oil and why you should never cook with it again.

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

Are you noticing a trend here with these belly bloating foods?? One word INFLAMMATION. It can cause a host of problems for your health but a big one is that it will cause insulin resistance, and insulin is our fat storage hormone which = belly fat and the inability to lose weight. NO thank you!

So as you can see, these 3 foods that are often labeled as health food can affect all of our health and our waistlines negatively but lucky for us, there are many great alternatives out there that will benefit our health in big ways.

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Want to learn more about how you can stop bloat from happening?

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Amber Hale.png
 

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Procrastinating So You Can Crush Your Health and Fitness Goals

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

The holidays, believe it or not, are just around the corner! Amber and I have been seeing Christmas displays popping up in stores recently, which absolutely blows my mind, given that’s it just the mid-October! At least wait till November folks!

Seeing Halloween decorations and costumes next to Christmas trees is pretty hilarious though. The reason I bring up the holidays is that NOW is the time to start up building good fitness habits instead of after the holidays!

Every year, I see folks waiting until after the New Year to implement a fitness and nutrition program thinking that’s the best approach.  Remember 2 or 3 months from now is a decent chunk out of the year - that’s 16 – 20% of your year!

After the fallout of the holidays, not only are you then trying to FINALLY establish good workout and nutrition habits BUT also typically digging out of a MASSIVE hole that was dug over the months around the holidays eating season.

The statistics of post-New Year fitness habits actually sticking around are pretty bleak because you don’t already have those good habits put into place after eating and drinking a lot over the past few months. It can also be confusing not knowing what workouts you should be doing and can be discouraging.

Plus It’s cold and dark out. It takes some will power to get out and get your butt to the gym. Losing those  inches around the waistline takes more time then people believe and too often folks quickly throw in the towel. 

Hopefully now you see that the urge to procrastinate on your health and fitness goals is a huge mistake and is one that the AVERAGE person unfortunately often makes.

We don’t want you to be average! We want you to separate yourself from the average and choose something different.

NOW is the time to start building those habits! TODAY is the day you do that workout. Not 2 months from now. Doing something that builds up your good habits and helps you feel fitter and stronger is going to pay off in the end.

If you start focusing on your nutrition and building a fitness habit now, you will go into the holidays actually burning more through building exercise and establishing better eating habits. So when the holiday parties roll around, you can enjoy it guilt free and know that you have prepared your body to be able to put those extra fun calories to good use in the gym!

EVEN IF all you end up doing is staying mostly the same, CONGRATULATIONS!!! The average weight GAINED during the holidays is 10+lbs so you’ve avoided that AND you have the habits necessary to sustain you post holidays.

The urge to procrastinate is a strong one and one that I have to fight off as well.

Don’t wait for things to be perfect to get started because there will never be that perfect time. Focus instead on the little things that build you up towards your future self. Focus on the things you CAN do!

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

5 Tips for how to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals:


#1: Ask yourself what motivates you to get the results you want to see? What drives you?
 

This is your chance to stop and listen to yourself, cut out the outside noise and see what intrinsically motivates you. Write it down! Be specific! General responses tend to lead to general outcomes.

#2: Get started by establishing a short term goal with a reward at the end. 

Wanting to lose 50 lbs is awesome but why not start with actions that lead you towards that goals such as going to the gym 4 days a week for the next 2 weeks. When you do that, plan a little reward for yourself. The brain likes to be rewarded and it feels good to accomplish something you set out to do. Once you’ve accomplished that, they shoot for another 2 weeks.

#3: Practice visualization. 

You need to actually envision the future, see your future self and imagine what you will look like, how your clothes will fit, and how it will feel to like to achieve this for yourself. Some of the most accomplished athletes and people in the world make this a practice. You are training your mind to help you accomplish the tasks you need in order to achieve your goal.


#4: Prioritize the tasks that are going to lead you to success.
 

Now that you know what you would like to achieve, you’ve clearly defined what that is and you can see yourself doing it. Now is the time to cut out the distractions. Every one of us has 24 hours in a day. Most often the things that aren’t as important will just end up taking care of themselves if you can just FOCUS on the things that matter. Stop with the illusion of multitasking. Often the multitudes of things that you are juggling are just keeping you feeling busy but robbing you of focus. Focus on your priorities before even worrying about the other things.


#5: Get in there and get messy! 

Life is messy and so is starting something new. Just make a mess and get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you make an effort. Your future self will be very grateful you did!



Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals
 


What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat

If you haven’t realized it by now, one of mine and Chris’ favorite nutrition tools is the elimination diet. We use it as the foundation for health for most of our clients because almost every person can gain benefit from it and the results are amazing. In these videos, Chris and I discuss how the elimination diet works plus some of the many benefits you can receive from doing it even for a short period of time!

 
Learn about the elimination diet in this 2 part video series. Plus how you can use it to makeover your health, lose fat and clear your skin. There are so many amazing benefits that come along with this simple nutritional tool.
 

What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat

Part One

Part Two


Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

2 Part Video Series: What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat
 

3 Easy Egg-Free Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas

Discover 3 easy and delicious egg-free breakfast ideas to eat while on the elimination diet. These recipes not only taste great but are also filling so you won’t go hungry.

So many of us start our day with a big plate of eggs, and if you are like me, you also have a little avocado toast too. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same meal over and over, so it can get a little confusing about what to eat when it’s time to start an elimination diet and you are removing eggs for a short time.

Lately, I've been getting several questions on how to eat an egg-free breakfast during the 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat program where we use the elimination diet to discover your flat belly blueprint.

There are so many other great breakfast options available that are equally delish and filling! There is one thing we NEVER do during the program and that is starve. We believe only in nourishing your body so you can discover foods that may be causing inflammation and preventing you from losing fat. So I want to share three of my favorite breakfast options that are great to eat while on an elimination diet.

 
Discover 3 easy and delicious egg-free breakfast ideas to eat while on the elimination diet. These recipes not only taste great but are also filling so you won’t go hungry.
 

But first, what is the elimination diet

The Elimination Diet is an approach used by the Functional Medicine community, health practitioners, allergists and nutritionists to figuring out which foods you have a food sensitivity, food intolerance or food allergy to. This is done by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, removing a specific group of foods such as corn, gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, etc. that are known to cause issues allowing the body to remove symptoms it may have. Later you reintroduce these foods back in one at a time to note any reactions creating a personalized eating plan.

Having this information about your individual health is important to understand so that you can eat mindfully, keep your digestive symptoms at bay, start healing your gut, and lose fat. So many benefits!


3 Easy Egg-Free Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas:

Easy egg-free oatmeal breakfast bowl idea to eat during the elimination diet.

The oatmeal breakfast bowl my personal favorite for a hearty breakfast!

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats 

  • cinnamon to taste

  • dash salt

  • stevia to taste

  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (sunflower butter or almond - if not eliminating tree nuts)

  • 1/2 serving walnuts (15g)

  • 1 banana

  • 3-4 Tbsp grass-fed collagen 

  • optional 1 Tbsp cacao nibs 

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup rolled oats, dash of salt and 1 cup of water. Cook oatmeal on stove or in microwave according to oatmeal package. Stir in collagen and stevia then top with additional toppings. You can also make as overnight oats to make life even easier. Get creative with it!


This Berry Banana Protein Smoothie is the perfect egg-free breakfast to eat while on an elimination diet.

Berry Banana Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 scoop protein powder (I love chocolate Vega protein & greens)

  • 1/2-1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 

  • 2 Tbsps nut butter (sunbutter or almond) 

  • 1/2 cup blueberries

  • 1/3 cup strawberries

  • 1/2 or whole banana

  • stevia to taste 

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (30 calorie/reduced sugar)

  • Optional: 1 Tbsp cacao nibs

Blend well and enjoy! Make sure to chew your smoothie to get your digestive enzymes working!


Chicken Sweet Italian Sausage and Sweet Potato:

  • 1 organic chicken sweet Italian sausage link cut into slices (check for minimal ingredients, free of dairy, gluten or soy)

  • 1/2 sliced bell pepper

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil + more for sauteing

  • salt and pepper to taste + any other herbs for sauteing the bell peppers

In a small skillet, add 1/2 Tbsp of coconut or avocado oil on medium heat. Add sliced bell pepper, salt, pepper and thyme, saute for about a minute. Then add sliced chicken sausage and saute in a pan until both sides are brown. Once cooked, removed from heat and add to plate.

Wash sweet potato, either microwave sweet potato in a dish with a little water and cover with a wet paper towel or if you have time, bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Once potato is fully cooked, slice open the top and add coconut oil, salt and pepper.

Other optional additions are sauteed mushrooms, tomato, butternut squash, spinach or avocado. Get creative with it and enjoy!


So there you have it! Three of my favorite egg-free breakfasts that are sure to taste amazing plus keep you feeling full while doing the elimination diet!

One thing to remember is that elimination diets are very customizable for each individual so just be sure to check to make sure you are allowed to eat the ingredients in these meals before you start cooking!

Leave a comment below and let me know which breakfast idea is your favorite or share your favorite breakfast!


Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Three easy egg-free breakfast to eat while on an elimination diet.
 



5 Benefits Of Doing An Elimination Diet

Before and after I learned about my food allergy to soy and lactose intolerance. I was in a constant state of inflammation and could lose fat. Learn 5 benefits of doing an elimination diet to improve your health, clear your skin and heal your gut. Discover why an elimination diet is important plus how it works.Learn 5 benefits of doing an elimination diet to improve your health, clear your skin, uncover food allergies as well as food sensitivities, and heal your gut. Discover why you should do an elimination diet plus how it works.

When I first started on my health and fitness journey around 2009, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life and just didn't feel good in my own skin. With the help of my new boyfriend at the time Chris, now husband, I started putting more focus on the food I ate and my fitness routine in order to lose weight.

The more I changed my eating habits from eating whatever I felt like at the moment to switching to eating healthier meals, I could finally begin to see how my body was reacting to certain food. Meal prepping and planning played a big role in changing my eating habits and being consistent!

While I was eating healthy at the time, I had doubts about dairy and thought it could be a big reason I wasn't losing as much weight as I should have been.

I then removed all dairy from my diet for 2 weeks and then added it back into my meals. I immediately had uncomfortable symptoms like gassiness and extreme bloating. It was downright embarrassing!

It was very clear that I was lactose intolerant and had probably been for quite some time BUT I wasn't able to see the symptoms because on a daily basis I was eating dairy in some form.

My bloated belly from a food allergy to soy and lactose intolerance. I was in a constant state of inflammation and could lose fat. Learn 5 benefits of doing an elimination diet to improve your health, clear your skin, uncover food allergies as well as food sensitivities, and heal your gut. Discover why you should do an elimination diet plus how it works.

After my dairy epiphany, I thought to myself: No big deal, I will replace it with soy! Big mistake for SO many reasons but one being that soy is not a healthy food despite what many health websites and labels tell us. We will have to save that conversation for another day.

So I went to the Starbucks on Astor Place in NYC and ordered a large soy milk latte. My body quickly told me that I couldn't tolerate soy either as I was having the same symptoms as dairy but on a bigger and more embarrassing level.

I later confirmed with my doctor that it was a true soy allergy, but again, I had no idea for so long since I unknowingly ate soy all the time (hint: it's in most packaged foods at the grocery store). My body was in a constant state of inflammation from the food I was eating which may have been the very thing holding me back from losing fat.

Without knowing it at the time, I had done an elimination diet!

The elimination diet is now the tool I use not only with my clients but also anytime I ever have a question about a certain food that seems to be bothering me or if I ever need to do a healthy reboot when my digestion seems off balance. 

So, what is the elimination diet?

Learn 5 benefits of doing an elimination diet to improve your health, clear your skin, uncover food allergies as well as food sensitivities, and heal your gut. Discover why you should do an elimination diet plus how it works.

The Elimination Diet is an approach used by the Functional Medicine community, health practitioners, allergists and nutritionists to figuring out which foods you have a food sensitivity, food intolerance or food allergy to.

This is done by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, removing a specific group of foods that are known to cause issues which allows the body to remove symptoms it may have. Later you will reintroduce certain planned foods back in one at a time to note any reactions creating a personalized eating plan.

Having this information about your individual health is important to understand so that you can eat mindfully, keep your digestive symptoms at bay, start healing your gut, and lose fat. So many benefits!

How does the elimination diet work?

The elimination diet works in two phases: The elimination phase and the reintroduction phase. I will explain both.

Phase one - Elimination: During the initial phase of an elimination diet, you will remove common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens from your diet for 2-3 weeks. Most commonly you would remove some of the top 8 allergenic foods: soy, dairy, corn, egg, gluten, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish. As well as any other food you think you may have an issue with such as nightshades, citrus fruit, yeast, legumes, etc. Please note: You should not test any foods that you believe you may have anaphylaxis reaction to.

This is so you can allow enough time for food allergens as well as other gut irritants to fully get out of your system. During this period you will naturally reduce inflammation in order to allow any symptoms to go away. You dial down your daily meals and snacks so that you are only eating real, nourishing foods that will not hurt your gut. In fact, you can begin to heal your gut with a proper elimination diet.

You will want to be strict during this phase in order to have success. Keep a list of all the foods you can and can't eat during the elimination phase so that you are very clear on which foods you need to avoid. It's very easy to forget and slip up on the foods you are used to eating.

It's important to keep meals simple and stay on track during this time so your body will be somewhat of a blankslate making it easy to figure out which foods work best for you!

Phase two - Reintroduction: Then after the 2-3 week elimination phase is over, you will enter the reintroduction phase. Gradually reintroduce the foods you removed during the initial elimination phase back into your diet one-by-one to see how your body reacts. We always suggest that our clients add back in the one food that they missed the most during the elimination phase but you can add them back in any order that you would like!

With certain food, you may notice reactions from it immediately and with others you may feel the effects a day or so later. During this phase, you will keep a food reaction journal so that you can pinpoint exactly how you are feeling both mentally and physically. Take note of any headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy, mood swings, fatigue, foggy thinking, etc.

Pinpointing the way these foods affect you are the key to your health success! This helps you to discover your personalized eating plan and you now know which foods to avoid in your daily life in order to avoid symptoms that may make you feel bad plus get healthier while at it!

 
The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
— Ann Wigmore
 

An entire elimination diet can last between 1-3 months depending on how many foods you reintroduce back into your diet. The great thing about the elimination diet is that it can be tailored specifically to your personal needs with your health coach or practitioner.

In our Beat Belly Bloat program we have our clients go through a simple elimination diet that lasts only 28 days and then they have the freedom to add in extra foods if they would like to extend it. I believe 28 days is more manageable for client’s busy lives! 

Many people discount the elimination diet because they think they don't have food allergies or intolerances and it wont help them, but it goes way beyond just discovering foods you can't eat.

The benefits you can receive by doing an elimination diet are transformational in so many ways! So I wanted to share just a few with you today!

 
Learn 5 benefits of doing an elimination diet to improve your health, clear your skin, uncover food allergies as well as food sensitivities, and heal your gut. Discover why you should do an elimination diet plus how it works.
 

Here Are 5 Amazing Benefits of Doing an Elimination Diet:

1. Helps to uncover food sensitivities and allergies

When your body sees certain foods as a danger its natural defenses overreact creating a immune response to let you know in the form of digestive upset, IBS, constipation, hives, acne, excessive gas, bloating, wheezing, watery eyes, puffy skin, eczema, hives, etc. When you eat a food daily that you can’t tolerate, it puts your body in a constant state of inflammation and can later result in disease and weight gain. Once you uncover these foods, you can then take steps to heal your gut and later you may be able to eat that specific food again if desired.

2. Clears your skin

As I mentioned above, eczema which can come in the form of itching, dry, cracking red skin and even acne are often an immune response from certain food. What you think is just normal acne, could actually be your body telling you that diary or another food doesn't work for you and needs to be removed for a time. We’ve had clients in our program report back that their skin cleared up within days of the elimination phase after years of skin issues!

3. Start to lose fat

It has been discovered that when your body is in a constant state of inflammation, it can’t lose fat. It's hard to know what foods are inflaming your body if you are eating them often which is why elimination diets are so important to give your body a break from those foods. Also other foods like rancid cooking oils such as canola and soybean oil are also very inflammatory whether you have an issue with it or not, so during an elimination diet you can give you body a break from those foods as well.

4. Helps to fight migraine headaches

It was shown in a study that when people who suffered from frequent migraine headaches went on an elimination diet, it significantly reduced the number of migraines they experienced monthly. Rather than reaching for over-the-counter medication that only masks symptoms, you can use the elimination diet to uncover trigger foods that may be contributing to migraine headaches.

5. Helps to heal leaky gut

When you have a leaky gut, it often comes in the form of multiple food sensitivities, inflammation, bloating, weakened immune system, etc. A common reason for having a leaky gut is caused by poor diet, stress, internal and environmental toxins. Inflammation is your bodies natural defence mechanism against harmful invaders and its main purpose is to help remove those invaders and heal your body.

Leaky gut is when there’s a lot of inflammation in the gut and large holes develop in the intestinal lining allowing food, toxins and other foreign things to bypass into your bloodstream. As the undigested food or toxins pass into the bloodstream, it causes an immune response in your body and over time can lead to food sensitivities or more serious autoimmune diseases. During the elimination diet, you will remove inflammatory food and discover which ones are making you feel sick. You can then start to lower inflammation since we have removed gut irritants and make gut healing a priority.

Learn 5 benefits of doing an elimination diet to improve your health, clear your skin, uncover food allergies as well as food sensitivities, and heal your gut. Discover why you should do an elimination diet plus how it works.

Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients.

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

There are so many amazing health benefits of adding apple cider vinegar (ACV) into your daily routine but it can hard to drink for many people, me included.

I wish I could say that I was a health goddess/badass and could just drink apple cider vinegar straight but I would be lying. It makes me gag like you wouldn't believe! I know people do it, but I just CAN'T! And from the many messages I get from ladies on my Instagram, a lot of you can't stand the taste either. I'm glad I am not alone in this!

But this doesn't stop me from drinking it and getting all the amazing digestive benefits that ACV has to offer. I have learned how to sneak it into my diet so I hardly even notice the taste!

 

First, What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermented apples and is full of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria we need in our gut, and enzymes, which help out our digestion by breaking down the food we eat. 

It should be organic, raw, unfiltered and have the "mother" present, a colony of beneficial bacteria which is a cloudy dark stringy substance that you will usually find at the very bottom of the glass jar.

 

So, what are the benefits of drink apple cider vinegar?

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

 

 
How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging
 

How to drink apple cider vinegar without gagging:

I have 4 ways that I like to drink my ACV so I it doesn't taste as harsh but I still get all the benefits.

  • The main way and the easiest way I drink my Apple Cider Vinegar is I sneak it into all of my protein smoothies! I usually make a berry banana smoothie with a scoop of chocolate Vega & Greens protein, banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, nut butter, stevia, cacao nibs and then my splash of apple cider vinegar! It helps to balance out the sweetness and the banana taste plus helps get the digestive enzymes flowing. So it's a win win!

  • First thing in the morning in warm lemon water and a dash of stevia. It still has a little tang taste to it but the stevia helps to cut it down and make it more bearable. We do this daily in the Beat Belly Bloat program and it does AMAZING things for the digestive system early in the morning and can also help you cut down on coffee needed. 🍋 The recipe is below!

  • Add it to my salad dressing. Ok so technically this isn't "drinking" ACV but this is a great way to get it into your diet in a way that tastes super delicious! I love to mix 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with 2 Tbsps of apple cider vinegar + herbs, salt and pepper and toss it on a grilled chicken salad. SO freaking good!

  • Drink it in my green tea flat belly tea recipe. Now don't let this cute catchy name make you think this flat belly tea recipe is a quick fix for weight loss because that requires all healthy living components: healthy meals, habits and exercise (weight lifting + cardio), but it CAN be a great aid in beating belly bloat, helping your digestion and boosting your weight loss abilities.


How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

Morning Slimdown Elixir

1 cup of warm water

Juice from 1 whole or a half of lemon

1-2 teaspoon organic raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon raw honey OR a couple dashes of stevia


So there you have it! Drinking apple cider vinegar can actually taste good!

How do you like to drink your apple cider vinegar? I’d love to hear more ideas!!

 

Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

 

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging
 

How To Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Without Gagging

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

How To Start Meal Prepping Like a Pro

Learn how to start meal prepping and meal planning to better the health of you and your family.

One of the most important tools that keeps our clients on track for our upcoming Beat Belly Bloat program is WEEKLY MEAL PREP! 

Chris and I know firsthand how important meal prep is for staying on track with our personal health goals whether it be muscle building, weight loss or just avoiding inflammatory foods that cause belly bloat, brain fog, and a host of other health issues. We meal prep weekly and it has become a habit for us over the years!

Meal prep gives you complete control over the ingredients in your food!

During the first phase of the Beat Belly Bloat program, we eliminate some of the top allergens: soy, dairy, corn, gluten, eggs, and peanuts as well as other inflammatory foods like canola and soybean oil. This gives your body time to rest and de-bloat.

Once you have a clean slate, you can start re-introducing those foods back in one at a time to discover how your body reacts to each food, creating your flat belly blueprint.

The elimination diet is such a simple yet extremely POWERFUL tool that you can use to not only discover foods that don't work for you, but also help you to release body fat and inflammation.

It is a program that is used by functional medicine doctors all over the world to help clients regain their health and life. It's amazing!

Here are some of my favorite meal prepping tips that you can use whether you are in the program or just want to start implementing weekly meal prepping.

 
Start meal prepping like a pro so you can start losing fat and inflammation
 

Time Saving Meal Prep Tips:

  • Plan Ahead. This is essential. Sitting down for a half hour over the weekend to plan out your weekly menu will save you time and money. Pick out 3-4 recipes for the week and make sure to read through them so you can figure out what ingredients you have on hand and the ones you need to buy. 

  • Pre Prep in your free time. Look at your meal plan and recipes and see what can be done ahead of time, in the morning or on the weekend. Pre-soak, defrost, slow cook, pre-chop anything and everything. Chop a lot of garlic at once and keep stored in a sealed container to add to recipes throughout the week.

  • Use Kitchen Shears. Great for trimming herbs, cutting up or trimming fat off chicken breast, and quickly opening bags, these can be a major time saver in the kitchen.

  • Be productive while you cook! Cooking doesn't have to consume all your time. While food is cooking, turn on your favorite podcast, listen to an audiobook, do other household chores, check emails or watch your favorite Netflix show or YouTube channel.

  • Create your meal plan with food you already have on hand. Save time and money by working with what you have in your freezer, pantry and fridge already. Keeping your meals as simple as possible will save you time and can still taste super delicious!

  • Clean-up while you cook. As you cook, start soaking and washing dishes or load your dishwasher. Wipe up messes on the counter and put away anything that isn't being used. This way you don't get overwhelmed with a big clean up job at the very end.

  • Cook While You’re Cooking. Have the oven on already? Throw in a tray of kale to make kale chip snacks for the next day or roast your favorite vegetables such as yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and onion - my faves!!

  • Take a few extra minutes to throw your complete meals into containers. Once all your cooking is done, throw your meals into little grab and go containers. This will save you tons of time during the week as you won't even need to think twice about making your lunch each day. Plus this also makes it easy to throw meals into the freezer if you don't get to eat them during the week. 

  • Pre-prep and freeze your protein smoothie ingredients. Wash, trim and freeze your fruit or better yet, buy organic frozen fruit. Then place each days fruit smoothie portions plus your protein powder, seeds, greens, and any other ingredients you desire into individual jars or ziplock baggies to freeze. Each morning you can throw them into the blender, add almond or coconut milk, and GO!

  • Pull out the crockpot for no fuss meals. You can make super easy meals overnight or while you are out for the day. Just chop up a bunch of veggies like onion, celery, and potatoes, add your protein of choice and seasonings, then let it cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. This will literally save you so much time and result in a delicious tasting meal. Try this easy crockpot beef stew recipe to get started! 

  • Use parchment paper to help keep food from sticking to the pan or dish. Sometimes vegetables and meats will stick to pans when cooking and can create a real mess to clean up. Line your pans with unbleached parchment paper to prevent sticking and make clean up a breeze. It is also helpful to place parchment paper over the top of dishes, like baked chicken, while cooking to avoid splattering and to help lock in the juices. 

Find more meal prepping tips on big batch cooking here in this post How to Weekly Meal Prep The Easy Way

 
Start meal prepping like a pro so you can start losing fat and inflammation
 

6 Easy Meal Prepping Tips To Live By:

  1. Steaming, sautéing, roasting, grilling and baking are healthy, easy, and quick ways to cook food.

  2. Keep it simple! Don’t allow what you don’t know make you feel overwhelmed. Combine a healthy protein, vegetables, grain or potato, and a healthy source of fat to create a balanced meal.

  3. Eat foods that are easy to digest. My rule of thumb is to keep it to 5 ingredients or less. Simple ingredients mean more energy, less bloating, and more nourishment.

  4. Try a few of the wonderful recipes in our meal plan. Remember, if you do not like a recipe then get creative and modify any recipe to your liking.

  5. Adding salsa, hot sauce, coconut aminos, tahini, garlic, or other healthy condiments can make any food taste fabulous.

  6. Prepare your meals in larger quantities so you can have leftovers and freeze portions for an easy grab and reheat option later.

  • You can prepare soups and freeze them.

  • Make a large batch of vegetables, protein, potatoes, and white or brown rice for the week.

  • Put together simple salads and have them ready to go in BPA-free plastic containers or glass Mason jars, with the dressing stored separately.

 



Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Start meal prepping like a pro so you can start losing fat and inflammation
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

4 Healthy Cooking Oils You Should Be Using In The Kitchen

4 Healthy Cooking Oils You Should Be Using In The Kitchen

A couple days ago, I was sitting at my dining table drinking my morning coffee (with almond/coconut milk and stevia, of course!) and I started making a grocery list for the week when that got me thinking about cooking oils. 

There have been a few times recently when I have gone to a friends house for dinner, and I notice that their pantry is filled with the worst cooking oils and sprays. I immediately know that I am in for a night of bloat and you won't want to catch me in a swimsuit later!

Most people don't realize that many cooking oils on the shelves seem healthy because of labeling but can cause some serious inflammation in our bodies that can contribute to food allergies/intolerances, bloating, inability to lose weight, eczema, leaky gut, or an autoimmune disorder.

I personally get an extremely bloated belly right away from canola and soybean oil which are both labeled as vegetable oil. The name alone "vegetable oil" makes it sound healthy, right?

Next time you are shopping at the grocery store, check out the labels on the back of major hummus brands. You can often find one or both of these oils in store bought hummus. When I think about delicious hummus, I think of healthy Mediterranean foods like olive oil, chickpeas, tahini, and fresh lemon juice...not unhealthy bloat-causing canola oil.

This just goes to show you that these inflammatory oils are in so many of our foods on the shelves and they are also in most of the meals we eat at restaurants. So when it comes to cooking our own food, it's important to have the right kind of oils in our pantry to give us some balance and reduce inflammation.

You are probably wondering what makes these oils inflammatory, right?

We could go down a crazy rabbit hole of information here as this is such a complex subject but I'm going to try and simplify this as much as possible.

Well, low quality refined oils such as canola, soybean, corn, and many others are highly processed and extracted by very high heat and pressure which destroys their antioxidants and alters the chemical nature of the fat. This creates dangerous free radicals which can cause cellular damage (hello, cancer) and disease in the body - no thank you!

They are then cleaned with chemicals such as hexane which is a byproduct from gasoline production. Then it is bleached to remove color and neutralized to remove the strong odor from the rancid oil - yuck! 

Lastly, dangerous preservatives, BHA and BHT are often added to extend the shelf life of the oils. These two preservatives are actually found in many foods on our shelves today and have been known to cause tumors and cancer during animal testing.

On a separate note over 90% of canola and soybean oil are genetically modified. Let's not even go there.

It's basically all the ingredients needed for a perfect inflammatory cocktail - I will not be cheersing to that one!

 
4 Healthy Cooking Oils You Should Be Using In The Kitchen
 

So what oils should you be using in the kitchen?

There are several great option out there now that more and more people are opening their eyes to a healthier lifestyle. You can find most of these oils at local grocery store as well as Target, Costco and even walmart!

What you want to look for in a quality oil is that the processing is very minimal and the oil was not heated so it still has all it's healthy properties intact - look for the words "cold-pressed" and "unrefined". Also buy organic when possible to avoid GMOs.

You also want to make sure the oil has a higher smoke point for your preferred cooking method. A smoke point is the temperature that causes an oil to begin to burn or smoke. When the oil burns or smokes it breaks down the healthy properties of the oil and oxiditates the fat which causes free radicals which in turn causes what was once a very healthy oil to now become just as bad as the lower quality oils like canola and soybean oil.

So let's get to it! I like to keep things simple in my kitchen. I have listed my 4 favorite healthy cooking oils below as well as their smoke point so you can use that as a guide on how they should be used when sauteeing, baking, frying, or making a salad dressing. 

4 Cooking Oils You Should Be Using In The Kitchen

 

Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Top 4 Healthy Cooking Oils to keep in your kitchen
 

  

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake Recipe (Vegan + Soy & Dairy-Free)

It's that time again - #PSL season!! Being the "basic bitch" that I am, I hold all things pumpkin spice very near and dear to my heart. That means pumpkin spice everything is happening whether you like it or not. Haters please exit the building :)  When I had my first Starbucks pumpkin spice latte YEARS ago, back when I could still tolerate milk (or at least thought I could), I took one sip and like every sane person on earth found it absolutely divine! Unfortunately the latte doesn't fit into my lifestyle not only because of the dairy, but also because a grande PSL made with 2% milk and whipped cream has 380 calories, 14g of fat, 50g of sugar and 52g of carbohydrates. I'm not saying I don't splurge on treats from time to time, because I most certainly do, but if I am consuming all of those calories, fats, sugars and carbs, I'd rather it be in food form like a cookie or a naughty banana chocolate chip pancake! Despite not having the official Starbucks PSL since the first time back in probably 2010, I still think about it to this day. During the fall, I will find any way to add pumpkin spice to my day and this pre or post-workout protein shake is no exception. This baby has it all, coffee, real pumpkin, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla and protein! What more could you want in a protein shake?

 
Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake that is soy-free, dairy-free, low in sugar and high in protein! This is the perfect pre or post-workout treat! #PSL #vegan #soyfree #dairyfree #basic
 
Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake that is soy-free, dairy-free, low in sugar and high in protein! This is the perfect pre or post-workout treat! #PSL #vegan #soyfree #dairyfree #basic

 Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake 

Optional: Add So Delicious whipped topping or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

**Modification: You can use cold coffee instead of instant by adding a half cup of cold coffee and reducing your almond milk to about a 1/2 cup. You will want to play around with the ratios to suit your taste buds. 

Blend together with a couple ice cubes and enjoy! 

 
Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake that is soy-free, dairy-free, low in sugar and high in protein! This is the perfect pre or post-workout treat! #PSL #vegan #soyfree #dairyfree #basic
 

What are your favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin spice?

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Last week, I shared my green bean, red onion and pecan side dish recipe which is one of favorite holiday dishes! Today, I want to share my oven roasted cranberry, apple, and brussel sprout side dish recipe, another favorite recipe that is sure to be a hit this holiday season! 

I'm sure you are thinking how tasty Brussel sprouts are but there is SO much more to them than taste! Brussel sprouts give your overall health a BIG boost, just one half cup serving of Brussels sprouts supplies us with 20 essential vitamins, including the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, numerous B vitamins, vitamin A, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They also contain antioxidants such a glucosinolates and isothiocyanates which help protect you from free radicals which can cause cellular damage and disease in the body. They are also high in fiber which help to keep you full after a meal and also helps to keep your digestion moving along.

 
Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts
 

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Oven Roasted Cranberry Apple Brussels Sprouts

Serves 2-3

  • 1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut lengthwise

  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths

  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, cranberries, sliced apple, and 1 tbsp olive oil together.

3. Brush glass baking dish with 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread mixture evenly into dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.

5. Serve hot and enjoy!

 

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté Side Dish Recipe

Chris and I are preparing our menu for our Christmas day feast this week. We have been traveling so much lately to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving and weddings, so this holiday we are enjoying it relaxing at home in Brooklyn with our dog Chili Palmer. Even though it will just be the three of us, we aren't holding back with the holiday cooking. There is nothing better than holiday leftovers to eat throughout the week! 

Today, I am sharing with you one of my favorite side dish recipes which features the haricot vert or you may know it as the green bean or string bean. They are known for their beautiful rich shade of green and light delicious taste, making them a wonderful holiday side dish to brighten up any plate! It's a very versatile bean, one of the few that can be eaten fresh without having to be cooked. The green bean is actually a nutrition ninja! It's a great source of folate, fiber and vitamin K but it also high in carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutien. Usually when we hear the word carotenoids, we normally think about red, orange and yellow vegetables but the chlorophyll in the green beans masks those colors! 

 
Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté Side Dish Recipe
 

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté 

Serves 3-4

  • 1 pound thin green beans (haricot vert), trimmed
  • 2 tbsp unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add green beans and boil for 4 minutes.

2. While boiling, prepare a large bowl filled with ice and water. Once beans have boiled, drain water and plunge into ice bath to stop from cooking. Drain and pat dry.

3. Saute the onion in coconut oil a few minutes until translucent. Add in green beans and cook 2 minutes.

4. Add in thyme, pecans, salt and pepper and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes.

5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Haricot Vert, Red Onion and Pecan Sauté Side Dish Recipe
 

 

What's your favorite holiday side dish?

Amber Hale, health coach
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

11 Natural Ways to Get Constipation Relief Fast

Chris and I both get this question from clients all the time "Help! I'm constipated, what do I do?". This is very common for many people and it can affect all aspects of their lives causing them extreme discomfort resulting in them not want to leave the house or participate in special life events. 

Everyone is different so the number of bowel movements you have per day will vary, but a good rule of thumb is an average of 1-3 bowel movements a day for a healthy digestive system. When we poop, we are eliminating toxins, bacteria, mucus, and fiber so important that we are keeping our bowels moving properly so that toxins are not being reabsorbed back in through our colon. So although we don't want to be harboring these toxins in our colon, it's important that we don't run out and start popping over-the-counter laxatives. These can cause more damage than good and you can become dependent on them. Natural health is always the path to BEST health so below we will go over some ways you can get safe and natural constipation relief. 

What causes constipation in the first place?

  • Stress and constant busyness
  • Poor diet
  • Certain medications
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Eating too much fiber and not enough water 
  • Candida, IBS, or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Not exercising
  • Magnesium deficiency 
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Food intolerances 
  • Resisting the urge to go during the day
 
11 Natural Ways to Get Constipation Relief Fast
 

Here are 11 Natural Ways to Get Constipation Relief Fast

  • Warm lemon water. Lemon juice helps with waste elimination which will help get things moving right along. Use the juice of 1/2 or whole lemon in a glass of warm water first thing upon waking up in the morning to jump start your digestion. Read more about the many benefits of lemon water here.
  • Keep hydrated. Water is needed to help food pass through the small and large intestine. 5 to 10 pounds of fecal matter can be stored in the colon because of dehydration caused by lack of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink ½ your current body weight in ounces of water each day. 
  • Coconut oil. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil by mouth will help to lube up your system and keep your things running smoothly. During the colder months, coconut oil may be in a solid form so you can warm it up for a few seconds and drink it or add it to a tea. I prefer to take it in solid form straight up but everyone is different. 
  • Exercise daily. Keeping your body moving every day is key to stimulating circulation creating a healthy digestive system. Getting in about 30 minutes or more of exercise a day will help improve your daily bowel movements and will make a huge difference in every aspect of your life! Check out these workouts to get you started. 
  • Magnesium. Taking magnesium daily can really help to relieve constipation by pulling water into the stool. Many Americans are deficient due to lack of it in our soil and therefor the food we eat, poor nutrient absorption, and it leaving the body through sweat and stress. Start supplementing with magnesium citrate at night before bed to help constipation. Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin by taking a relaxing Epsom salt bath at night with 1-2 cups of Epsom salt. 
  • Coconut water. Drinking this can help to hydrate you and balance your electrolyte levels. It can also have somewhat of a laxative effect so start slow and ease off when needed. To get the highest quality coconut water look for one that is organic and doesn't have added flavors or sugars. 
  • Probiotics. Our gut is full of good and bad bacteria that help to keep our immune system strong and digestion running smoothly. Many things we put in our body such as antibiotics, medications, alcohol and certain processed food can kill off both the good and the bad bacteria. Supplementing with a high quality probiotic supplement with at least 15 billion live organisms, probiotic-rich foods like kefir and sauerkraut can help keep your gut flora in check and digestion functioning better.
  • Squatting instead of sitting. Since the beginning of time we squatted to go to the bathroom but that all changed when we started sitting on a toilet. For many people this can cause some blockage. Using a foot stool like a Squatty Potty to help put you in a more natural position can help to relax your colon to allow stool to flow freely and take off the pressure of straining which can cause hemorrhoids. 
  • Chew your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth the minute you start to even think about food and then enzymes are produced as you start to chew your food. But most of us do not chew food properly as a result of rushing through our meals. Large chunks of food then go through the digestive tract without being broken down properly. It is important to really focus on the food you eat, try eating without distractions such as TV and phones (I know that seems impossible but you can do it!). Really concentrate on the look, feel and taste of your food. Chew until it becomes liquid in your mouth or aim for about 30 bites. 
  • Essential oils. Using high quality essential oils like lemon, tangerine, ginger, fennel, rosemary, wild orange, and peppermint as an abdominal rub mixed with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, or in a warm bath with Epsom salts can help to relieve constipation and leave you feeling amazing. 

Do you have any natural remedies that have helped you with constipation? We would love to hear them in the comments below!

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

Sources:

http://draxe.com/magnesium-deficient-top-10-magnesium-rich-foods-must-eating/

http://draxe.com/natural-laxatives/

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/20/magnesium-the-most-powerful-relaxation-mineral-available/

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

How To Weekly Meal Prep The Easy Way

One of the most important tools that Chris and I use for staying on track with our personal health goals whether it be muscle building, weight loss or just trying to avoid certain allergenic food ingredients is WEEKLY MEAL PREP! 

We have been doing this for years because it not only helps to keep us on track but it also saves us tons of time and money. The rare times that I do leave the house without my prepped meals, it usually costs me at least $10 for a somewhat healthy meal. When I cook my food at home, it can cost me only a few dollars per meal. It really makes a difference! Plus it's so hard to know what ingredients are really being used in your food when buying quick meals out on the go. 

So today I am going to share with you some of our favorite tips and tricks for weekly meal prep! 

 
How to weekly meal prep the easy way
 

Let's get started!

First, Make a list of all the food you enjoy eating.

  • Search for recipes on Pinterest or you can start with the recipes in my free 7-day meal plan. You can make all your meals ahead of time if you prefer, so save breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that you love. Use recipes that will allow you to have leftovers so you can eat them throughout the week instead of using a different recipe for each meal. The easier the recipe the better so you don't get overwhelmed.
  • Print out a blank meal planner and start to map out your meals. Ideally your meal plan would include blank spaces for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. 
  • Take inventory of the items you already have in the kitchen and create your grocery list.

Next, Choose your meal prep batch cooking method.

  • Choose between 2 options: the “cook once, eat three times” method or the big batch cooking method for the entire week.
  • The goal of each method is to decrease time spent in the kitchen AND money in the grocery store so that you can spend more time and money on stuff that you love!

 Option 1: “Cook Once, Eat Three Times” Method

How this option works is that you will do the bulk of your food shopping on either Saturday or Sunday morning. On Sunday, you would prep and cook your meals for days 1-3. Then, on Wednesday, you would prep and cook your meals for days 4-6 and so on. Technically you will need 1 extra lunch and dinner for Sunday, so the last part of the week will actually cover 4 meals unless Sunday is a free day.

 Each prepared dish needs to have be 3 (or 4 if you include Sunday) servings in order to cover three different meals. If you are cooking for 2 or more people, then you will want to double or triple your recipes accordingly and also adjust the amounts needed.

Option 2: Big Batch Cooking Method

If you are super busy, like me, you could do all your shopping on Saturday, cook the whole week's meals on Sunday and freeze them individually if needed. Then, just grab each meal as you go throughout the week - major time saver! This will allow you to add even more variety to your meal plan by rotating your 4 main entrees all throughout the week so you are never eating the same meals on back-to-back days.

Choose whichever cooking method works best for your schedule and your taste buds.

Remember: There is no right or wrong way to weekly meal prep. The main thing is for you to figure out which cooking method saves you the most amount of time and works best for your schedule.

Time Saving Meal Prep Tips:

  • Be productive while you cook! Cooking doesn't have to consume all your time. Turn on your favorite podcast, you can do other household chores, check emails or watch your favorite show or YouTube channel.
  • Create your meal plan with food you already have on handSave time and money by working with what you have in your freezer, pantry and fridge already. Keeping your meals as simple as possible will save you time and can still taste super delicious!
  • Clean-up while you cook. As you cook, start soaking and washing dishes or load your dish washer. wipe up messes on the counter and put away anything that isn't being used. This way you don't get overwhelmed with a big clean up job at the very end.
  • Take a few extra minutes to throw your complete meals into containers. Once all your cooking is done, throw your meals into little grab and go containers. This will save you tons of time during the week as you won't even need to think twice about making your lunch each day. Plus this also makes it easy to throw meals into the freezer if you don't get to eat them during the week. 
  • Pre-prep and freeze your protein smoothie ingredients. Wash, trim and freeze your fruit or better yet, buy organic frozen fruit. Then place each days fruit smoothie portions plus your protein powder (I use this yummy pumpkin protein), seeds, greens, and any other ingredients you desire into individual jars or BPA-free ziplock baggies to freeze. Each morning you can throw them into the blender, add almond milk, and GO!
  • Pull out the crockpot for no fuss meals. You can make super easy meals overnight or while you are out for the day. Just chop up a bunch of veggies like onion, celery, and potatoes, add your protein of choice and seasonings, then let it cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. This will literally save you so much time and result in a delicious tasting meal. Try this easy crockpot beef stew recipe to get started! 
  • Use parchment paper to help keep food from sticking to the pan or dish. Sometimes vegetables and meats will stick to pans when cooking and can create a real mess to clean up. Line your pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make clean up a breeze. It is also helpful to place parchment paper over the top of dishes, like baked chicken, while cooking to avoid splattering and to help lock in the juices. 

Getting the hang of weekly meal prep may take some practice but you will get the hang of it! The first couple times I did meal prep on my own, took hours. I quickly found my groove and was able to get it all done in half the time which ultimately saved me tons of time throughout the week! Feel free to leave me any questions you have in the comments below. Also, if you need more meal prep tips and recipes, don't forget to download my free 7-day meal plan

Do you have any great meal prepping tips? We'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Stairs Are Your Mortal Enemy: The Leg Workout

If you are looking to change up your leg routine or just bored and want to try something different and aren’t afraid of a little pain and suffering (it’s worth it in the end) then give this leg routine a shot. Remember, tears are just weakness leaving your body. Haha kidding! 

 

Warm up:

  1. Plank: 2-3 minutes total time

  2. Side plank: 90 seconds per side total time

  3. Single leg glute bridges - 30 reps per side

  4. Walking lunges, bodyweight - 45 seconds

 
Stairs Are Your Mortal Enemy: The Leg Workout #legday
 

Workout:

1) Walking barbell lunges (use dumbbells if barbell isn’t possible): 4 sets

> 12 steps out and 12 steps back (count each step).

> Add 20-40lbs in weight per set for a barbell or 5-10lbs for dumbbells.

> 60-90 seconds rest between sets.

 

2) Incline leg press: 2 sets x 100

> That’s right. 100 reps per set. Try and get as low as you can for a full range of motion and push out as many as you can in one go. If you need to (you’ll need to) take a SHORT rest pause between reps till you are at 100. The rest pause is just that, a pause. The break comes after the 100 reps.

> If it starts to really suck around 20-25 reps keep going, you are doing it right.

> Put an appropriate amount of weight on. Hint. It will be a lot less than your usual strength sets. ie. If you are pushing 6+ 45lb plates for sets of 10-12 you are putting 2 plates on.

> Rest 2 minutes before diving into your second set.

 

3) Leg extension drop sets: 3 sets x 10,10,10 (each set consists of 30 reps total)

> Put on the most weight you think you can do for 10 reps and then immediately drop the weight down after the first 10 to a lighter weight and do the same thing. Do that once more to finish out the set. You’ll do a total of 30 reps per set

 

4) Lying leg curls, with toes pointed: 4 x 10-12 reps

> Point your toes while doing this exercise. You’ll use less weight then you are used to but by pointing your toes your calves can’t assist at the knee to help move the weight so the hamstring will be doing all of the work and not your calf.

> Rest 60 seconds.

 

5.) Barbell glute bridges: 4x 12-15 reps

> Do this exercise if possible with your upper back on a bench with the bar across your hips. You might want to add a pad to the bar so that it doesn’t dig in too much. If you are doing a fair amount of weight (you should be) then that can be a real life saver. Once you have lifted the bar up and are in bridge position, hold onto the bar as you do the exercise. Make sure you are supported enough with your upper/middle back on the bench so that you don’t feel like you are sliding off the bench when sitting down.

> Rest 60 seconds.

This workout will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes.

 

Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Chris Hale, Personal Trainer
 

    

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

3 Strong Women Who Prove You Need To Ditch The "I'm Older And Out Of Shape Mentality"

I hear it all the time from family and friends close to me (and I'm sure you do too) that they are older now and as a result, they are out of shape or can't move like they used to. While I do believe there are just some unavoidable things that could happen to us as we get older, I also STRONGLY believe in the power of prevention and doing everything we possibly can to keep our bodies running as efficiently as possible. 

There are so many health benefits to exercise at all ages such as:

  • weight loss and weight maintenance
  • boosting your mood so you stress less by increasing your serotonin levels which makes you happier
  • giving you more energy throughout the day
  • better sex by making you feel more confident and getting blood flowing in all the right places
  • helping you sleep better
  • preventing osteoporosis, bone thinning and fractures
  • better muscle mass which is especially important as we age because we start losing it in our 40's and 50's
  • decreasing your risk for disease
  • lowers high blood pressure which is a major factor for strokes

I just can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to soak these health benefits up!

In a recent article in the New York Times, it was reported that by the time we reach late middle-age, we start developing small holes in our brain's white matter which is what passes messages between different parts of the brain. This can cause issues with our thinking and our memory. But a new study on a large group of women between the ages of 65-75 suggests that weight training just twice a week may slow the age-related shrinking of some parts of the brain, slow down the development of the holes in the brain, and improve walking abilities. 

I don't know about you but I want to keep my memory and thinking intact for as long as I can and weight training only two times per week is a very small price to pay to extend it as long as possible. A good goal to shoot for when you are first getting started is to try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day and working your way up from there. 

I know that saying the words "I want to get in shape and be healthier" is a lot easier than actually getting out there and doing it. So you really need to find what inspires you to get out there and make it happen. You have to find your WHY - a why that will make you cry and give you a reason to get out of bed each day to make this life the best it can possibly be!

Over the last several years, I have been inspired by some amazing women that I have been blessed to have crossed paths with.  I have known Sally my entire life as she has been my mom's best friend since high school - I like to call her my second momma. I met Jody and Lynda over the past 4+ years through being a Fitfluential Ambassador and while blogging my own health journey. They aren't your typical 20 something women that we see posted all over Pinterest. These women are strong and unstoppable, they have proved to me that age is no reason to stop aspiring to achieve your health goals and definitely not a reason to start making excuses about aging. 

 
3 Strong Women Who Prove You Need To Ditch The "I'm Older And Out Of Shape Mentality"
 

So I asked these 3 amazing women: "Why is it important for you to be fit, healthy and strong as you age?"

These stories are about women but staying active as we age is important for men and women both. I hope their stories inspire you as much as they have for me!


Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL

At 47 both my parents had health issues and moved into my home, my dad had a major stroke, paralyzed on one side and unable to walk or talk, dementia and TIA's had taken over my mom as well. At this time I had a 13 and 16 year old and a business. It was difficult to cope with the stress. My mom and dad passed away 11 months apart (I took care of them with the help of my husband) for a year. I could see my future with the genes I have been dealt. I was very skinny at that time (110, size 0), and then the weight started, menopause kicked in too, hot flashes, night sweats, fat around my tummy, I was up to 129(size 10) in no time.

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL

 In March 2007  I had a TIA (mini stroke) my genes had caught up with me(high blood pressure) this was a wake up call. I started walking again with a very good friend Carrie, from March to Oct 2007 we trained for a marathon for my 50th birthday, we went on to do several 1/2 marathons, I was down to 114. I just looked skinny, yuck...So I started classes at the gym, weight classes, yoga, kick boxing. My body didn't change much, but then I was given a chance of a lifetime. Don Brower(former body builder) asked me if I wanted him to help me gain muscle as he knew I ate well. He had never professionally trained anyone because he said most people do not listen and end up quitting and that was a reflection on him. I'm now in my 3rd year training with him and the changes have been amazing! I am extremely healthy now, I can do things most 20 year olds can't do. I am more active than ever, I feel like I'm 17, the confidence and positive attitude that I have gained has really helped me come out of my shell I was in way too long. I have some bad genes I will be fighting and I have chose to fight them with clean food and exercise instead of prescription drugs and I am succeeding. I am 58 years old and proud of it. Please DON'T ever think you are too old, I simply started by walking at 49, then walking distance, classes at the gym and I will always train with weights, It has changed my life and health, mentally and physically. Thanksto Don Brower for pushing me and believing in me to do what I thought was impossible to a body that started lifting at 55 years old.

Who knows maybe at 60 I will compete, I'm a bit stage shy. But, one thing for sure I will lift, eat clean and stay super active because life is good, I sat on the couch long enough! A friend of mine recently told me he heard this in a movie...

"We can get busy living or get busy dying!!"

It is a choice, I chose happy and healthy living!!

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL 


Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit
Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit

 

I will be 58 next month. Besides the fact that I fell in love with weightlifting & health in my 20's, going through all the years doing this really made me aware how important it is to be healthy & strong as we get older. You just do not know it until you get there. The body changes so much in the 40's & especially 50's! Women are going to have to realize they need to be fitter & healthier to make it through the hormone change in tact! 😊

For me it was about being able to care for myself, do things for myself as I got older, play with my grandchildren & be around for their weddings. I did not want to have to have others care for me as I got older. I want to be able to take care of myself for many more years to come! The best person you can take care of is YOU! If you take care of you, you are a better person for all those around you!

Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit


Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country

I have always had a passion for fitness.  I was not really an athlete in school {unless you count cheerleading}, but I became interested in running in my twenties.  I always belonged to a gym, I took classes, watched what I ate and just took care of myself. I loved doing anything that had cardio and weight training.  I think because I am short, I would worry more about weight than if I were taller. I have always continued staying on track.  I have done Yoga, Pilates, Spin Cycle, Weight Training. 

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country

I have had three children, they are now 25, 15 and 13.  To be honest, my body handled pregnancy well.  Never any stretch marks, and not much weight gain.  I maintained an active and fit lifestyle throughout all three pregnancies.  I loved so much my cravings, but really wanted to stay in tune with my body and keep healthy.  I wanted to be able to bounce back once having the kids and being fit, helped me accomplish that.

I just turned 48 this past August.  I thought the 40's were going to have me bummed out.  This is so cliche, but the 40's are amazing!  Seriously, I have never felt so great.  No joke, I feel amazing and I think I look better as I get older, which has me baffled.  A combination of clean eating, a healthy diet {moderation with treats}, lots of water and exercise is always key to my lifestyle at this age.  Good habits are not only great for my body, but my skin also.  I care about that just as much.  Hydrating all day everyday is so very important.  I have just made it a habit to make sure I am taking in water all day long. 

Running is my passion that I have picked back up again in the last two years.  I am working on my 6th half marathon now {this weekend} and have another next month.  That along with regular Pure Barre classes, keeps me strong all over and fit.  Slipping into a pair of jeans without having to squat and stretch them on to my body, is awesome!  I love the feeling of just getting dressed and not fighting to fit into something.  I recall recently my mother telling me that I was no longer in my 20's {she wanted to remind me of this with all my running}, it threw me a bit and had me responding something like this ... "I realize I am no longer young, however I plan on keeping myself as young as I can and running is doing just that".  Until my body says no more and I can't do it, then I don't intend to stop anytime soon.  It is okay to be older women now and have fitness goals and regimens, we don't need to stop and "grow old".  I believe in embracing my age and I am actually looking forward to the journey my 50's will have.  

Staying fit as I age is just something I chose to do, it makes me happy.  I love feeling great.  I love being a role model for my kids.  I love being the "younger" older mom.  I love that I can keep up with them and have the energy to be active with them.

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country 


"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success, doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today."

-John C Maxwell

Amber Hale, health coach
 

Sources:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/lifting-weights-twice-a-week-may-aid-the-brain/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/amazing-benefits-of-exercise.aspx#01

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

Believe it or not Chris and I don't actually have a lot of family meals together. We eat differently for our individual goals and I have allergy restrictions that he doesn't. We usually fix our food separately and then sit down to eat together when we can. Well, we wanted to switch things up a bit and do more family meals, so recently we stocked up on a bunch of high quality meats through a grocery delivery service here in NY. We wanted to give this whole family dinner thing a try. I also wanted to start using our crockpot more for things other than bone broth.

In my early 20's, I cooked one-pot-meals all the time in the crockpot. One of my favorite things was to fire up the crockpot in the morning and come home to a delicious smelling house in the afternoon, then sit down to a hassle-free dinner. Best. Thing. Ever.

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

So last Monday morning, that is exactly what I did. I fired up the crockpot, added our pre-cut beef, chopped up veggies - which only took minutes to prepare, sprinkled on the seasonings, and left that bad boy running all afternoon until we came home for dinner. It was amazing! Chris actually couldn't believe the yummy smell in our building hallway was coming from our apartment. Oh, but it was!

We both loved hitting the "easy button" on this family meal so we could spend less time cooking, and more time eating....and watching season 5 of The Walking Dead. Yes, please! 

I was so inspired by how easy that meal was that I used the leftover raw veggies that didn't make it into the stew to make an overnight crockpot  chicken dish the next day. Recipe to come soon...

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

 
Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew
 

Easy Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew

  • 2.5-3 lbs organic beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 cups chicken or beef bone broth (I didn't have fresh broth made at the time so I used 1 cup Pacific Foods rosemary chicken bone broth and 1 cup of broth made from Kombu seeweed: 1 cup water + 2 inch Kombu, boiled 15-20 minutes)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, cut into thick slices
  •  3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

1. In a crockpot (I use an 8 Qt., but a 4-6 Qt. should work well), add broth and cubed beef.

2. Add half of all seasonings to the top of the beef.

3. Place the chopped vegetables on top of the seasoned beef and then sprinkle on the remaining seasonings over the veggies.

4. Place the lid onto the crock pot and cook on the low setting for 8 hours or if you are in a hurry, cook for 4 hours on the high setting.

5. Be prepared to have your entire house smell of amazingness, then later...Enjoy!  

What is your favorite easy crockpot meal?

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

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9 Amazing Benefits Of Starting Your Day With A Glass Of Warm Lemon Water

Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day because it boasts amazing health benefits that will give you super human powers! Ok…so maybe super human powers is a bit of stretch, but it is a simple, cheap and enjoyable way to improve your overall health. This is one tool that I recommend to most all my clients and they just love it!

So first, I am going to give you the “how to” of making and drinking your lemon water so you can grab a glass and start sipping while you read all the yummy benefits below.

I recommend you enjoy your warm lemon water first thing when waking up on an empty stomach, say about 15-30 minutes before breakfast so your body can soak in all the nutrient benefits of the lemon.

Instructions:

  • 12-16 oz glass of warm, not hot, filtered water. You can heat your water up in the microwave for a couple minutes or turn on the tea kettle. Just make sure that the water is not too hot to drink.
  • The juice of ½ or a full lemon. I recommend starting with a half at first to get used to it, then work your way up to a full lemon when you are ready. Cut the lemon in half and juice it right into your cup of water.
  • Gulp it down and enjoy!

A question I get from clients all of the time is if the acidity of the lemon water is bad for their teeth enamel and how long after should they wait to brush.

This is a great question and yes, it will soften the enamel on your teeth which can lead to erosion, so you definitely want to take care when drinking. You don't necessarily want to swish the lemon water around in your mouth, instead the goal is to get into your throat. What I do is open the back of my throat and pour it right in, that way it barely touches the teeth. You can also drink it with a straw to avoid touching the teeth if that feels better for you, but it will take longer to get down. Once you have enjoyed your glass of warm lemon water, you want to wait about 60 minutes before brushing your teeth to avoid any damage.

Another question I get from clients is if they can continue drinking lemon water throughout the day to keep the benefits going.

Absolutely! The lemon water goodness doesn’t have to stop in the morning, you can make a whole pitcher of it and drink it throughout the day to stay hydrated! When possible, use a glass water bottle to avoid the break down of plastic inside you water from the acidity of the lemon.

 
9 Amazing Benefits Of Starting Your Day With A Glass Of Warm Lemon Water
 

Here are 9 Amazing Benefits Of Starting Your Day With Warm Lemon Water:

-  It can combat bad breath by killing odor-causing bacteria inside the mouth, throat and tongue.

-  It helps to keep you looking younger by providing vitamin C that helps with the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps to rejuvenate our cells, blood vessels and tightens and strengthens our skin.

- It strengthens your immune system and fights off infection that can cause sore throat. This another amazing benefit of the high levels of vitamin C and because of its antibacterial properties. Just a half cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (not the bottled stuff) contains 93% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C and it's a pretty tasty way to get it in too! 

- It helps keep you maintain better digestion by stimulating stomach acid and bile productions helping you to break down food in the stomach. Many people suffer from poor digestion whether they know it or not so giving your body a little boost in the morning can go a long way.  

- It will help keep you hydrated, by helping you stave off hunger and quench your body’s need for fluids especially when we are drinking too much coffee/tea and not enough water throughout the day. It also improves the absorption of good minerals and nutrients. 

- It can help to your body to detox by stimulating your liver and improving bile production so that your body can excrete the many toxins that we are exposed to daily. This also goes hand-in-hand with drinking plenty of water daily and keeping our digestion moving so that our body is able to flush out toxins that can potentially cause us harm.  

- It helps to boost weight loss by fighting hunger and cravings with pectin, a fruit fiber that can help you to feel fuller longer. Drinking lemon water throughout the day is also a great way to stay hydrated so your body doesn't mistake thirst for hunger, this probably happens more than you think! 

- It will break you of the coffee habit or at least cut back if you feel like your morning coffee ritual is getting out of hand. The acidity from the lemon water can really help with wanting to grab the morning cup of Joe. Plus it's more hydrating rather than coffee which will actually dehydrate you. (Another great coffee habit buster is our flat belly tea recipe!)

- It can naturally help to dissolve mucus in your body when dealing with respiratory issues and allergies. It is a natural astringent, which helps to break up mucus for easier removal.

Now you tell me, what is your favorite way to enjoy the amazing benefits of lemon?

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe (Soy, Dairy & Gluten-Free)

All I've been hearing lately is talk of Fall, apple picking, changing of the leaves, hot apple cider and all things pumpkin...I am 100% A-OK with this and plan to indulge in all of the Fallyness every chance I get. Actually, Chris and I have invited his mother up for a visit this weekend so we can go apple picking for the first time! At least it's this Florida girl's first time. I seem to always miss out on apple picking season so this year I was not letting the chance slip away from me. 

So in honor of all things Fall-y I decided it's time to whip up one of my favorite easy yummy pumpkin recipes that I have been making for several years now as a topping for my rice cakes, pancakes, and a dip for apples. Each year, it seems to evolve and get better as I discover new ingredients that I love to use.

One of my favorite ingredients that I discovered at the beginning of the year is Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder.  I had never heard of it before and so I thought I'd give it a shot. I knew that there were many benefits to including pumpkin in the diet such as it being rich in vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese and other minerals including zinc, iron and copper and it is also great for removal of intestinal parasites...yucky sounding but totally necessary. It is also high in protein, it has only one ingredient - ground pumpkin seed - so I don't have to worry about any other unnecessary ingredients lurking in my protein, it's not chalky or gritty tasting, and it has almost no taste so it mixes really well in everything. Lastly, it's soy and dairy-free which are both foods that I avoid because of food allergies and intolerances. This protein is a WIN-WIN in my book and a constant kitchen staple for me.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

The pumpkin pie protein spread over rice cakes make a great pre-workout meal as it give you the perfect amount of fuel to crush your workout which I am about to do! It's also the perfect meal to enjoy with a homemade pumpkin spice latte that I have been making with Trader Joe's delicious Pumpkin Spice Coffee, stevia, cinnamon and coconut milk creamer. It's WAY cheaper and has WAY less sugar than the PSL that is being served up at Starbucks right now. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and all the Fall-y things as much as I do! :)

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe
 

Pumpkin Pie Protein Mousse Spread Recipe

Mix all ingredients together and spread over rice cakes, pancakes or as a dip for apples.

Note:  If you don't need as much protein, you can make this recipe without the protein powder or cut the protein in half and use less almond milk. It tastes delicious either way!

Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach
 

Sources:

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_healing/parasites.html

 

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