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
 

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.

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.

 

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 magnesium deficient due to lack of it in our soil and therefore 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, I personally take 400mg 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.

  • 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 footstool 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.

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!

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.

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
 

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.

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. 

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Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (also, nut-free!)

I have been mostly gluten-free for a few years or so now because of the nasty effects that gluten can have on ones gut and physical health and I really haven't found any gluten-free bread replacements that I can really stand behind. Mostly because of their long list of ingredients and the GF breads that I do approve of are just so darn pricey. So I have cut out all types of homemade sandwiches and wraps over the years and since they haven't been on the menu for so long I don't really miss them very often...BUT from time to time I get a hankering for one.

I've tried making some coconut flour breads in the past but they usually called for a ton of eggs because coconut four is super dense and I just can't eat eggs in large quantities without having respiratory issues. Plus I could never really get them to hold together enough to make a sandwich with. So recently during my 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat group program, myself and others shared a couple soy, dairy, gluten and egg-free tortilla and na'an recipes using different flours like quinoa, almond and tapioca flour. I tried several of my own recipe variations with other fours I had on hand but they just never came out quite right. Then I used tapioca for the first time and noticed how amazingly you could create a bread-like bun using only a few ingredients. So after several experimental recipes I have settled on a delicious gluten-free flatbread bun made of brown rice an tapioca flour.

I've enjoyed the bun with both chicken breast and a burger patty topped with tomato and avocado and the bun has stayed intact every time. Not only does it stay intact while eating the whole sandwich but it also travels well to make sandwiches at the beach or on a picnic. Best of all it tastes buttery delicious! 

I have this sandwich about one meal a day as this is by no means a low carb sandwich as it has about 43g of carbohydrates. So don't go crazy and eat three of them once you taste how yummy they are! The great thing is it's void of all the junk ingredients that most processed packaged gluten and gluten-free breads have which makes your body happier and healthier!

 
Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)
 

Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun

  1. Pre-heat a flat pan to medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly stir in olive oil and then water, make sure it does not become too liquidy. If it the mix does look too runny, add less water. 
  3. Spray the pan lightly. I use a misto oil sprayer to avoid soy and chemicals. Pour liquid out into 2 round flat pancake like circles. 
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side until the bun starts to slightly brown. Then flip and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Let cool and enjoy with your favorite protein and toppings. 

Tips for travel: If you don't plan to eat the sandwich right away, let the bun cool first then wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a ziplock bag. The paper towel may stick to the bun but it will remove easily.

 
Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)
 
 
Homemade Gluten-Free Flatbread Bun (soy, dairy, gluten & nut-free)
 

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

Reduce Belly Bloat With This Flat Belly Tea Recipe

Most people start their day first thing with a big cup of delicious hot coffee, then rush to the office and enjoy yet another large cup of coffee all the while forgetting one very important detail which is essential all hours of the day - hydration! When you are gulping down coffee all morning, there is very high chance that you are not drinking water along side of your cup of Joe. This used to be a very bad habit of mine. Lunchtime would roll around and all of the sudden I'd realize that I haven't had a cup of water all day.

Most all of my female clients deal with the dreaded belly bloat which can come from a host of things like food allergies, leaky gut, candida, too much sodium, or more simply just plain old dehydration! When we are rushing around each day running on coffee alone for the first half of the day, we start to retain water which is the last thing we want when we are trying to get a flat belly. 

I'm not out to make coffee the bad guy because there are actually a lot of benefits to drinking organic coffee such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. But I can bet that if you are just drinking coffee from Starbucks or the office pot of coffee, then you are most likely drinking coffee that has been heavily sprayed with pesticides that are toxic to our bodies and get stored away in our fat cells. I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra junk stored in my fat cells!

So what can be done to start reducing that stubborn belly bloat?

There are two things that I absolutely love to do in the mornings to help reduce belly bloat...

  • #1 Drink a large glass of water first thing when you wake up. I prefer warm water with the juice of half a lemon, but just plain warm water is perfectly fine too. 
  • #2 Swap  your morning coffee with my favorite flat belly tea recipe (below).

Not only will both of these morning rituals help you to kick your coffee habits to the curb it will also decrease belly bloat, help stimulate digestion, stop cravings in their tracks, and may help with weight loss by jump-starting the metabolism! You will still need to remember to drink water during the rest of your day, so make sure to keep a water bottle next to you to sip on throughout the day.  

 
Flat belly tea
 

Flat Belly Tea Recipe

  • 1 cup organic hot green tea
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from a lemon half
  • Stevia or raw honey to taste

1. Brew 1-2 tea bags of green tea in 8oz of filtered water.

2. Add apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and stevia to taste.

3. Stir and enjoy!


 

Ready kick belly bloat to the curb? Then click the button below to grab my freebie 5 Steps to Beat Belly Bloat!

 

 
 

What's your best tip for de-bloating or ditching the coffee habit?

 

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

3 Easy Ways to Detox Using Coconut Oil

I was very honored last summer to write this article for the Kelapo Coconut Oil Blog. I loved it so much that I wanted to re-post it here so you don't miss out this great information! Enjoy..

Coconut oil is beginning to be a pantry staple in most households these days and for good reason. It not only smells and tastes delicious, but it also aides in helping you to lose belly fat, and improves digestion. Also, it's a great high-heat cooking oil to use in place of other more delicate oils that become rancid at high temperatures.

 But there is so much more to coconut oil than pleasing your palate. Did you know that you can actually use coconut oil to help your body detox? 

 Why detox you ask? Well we live in a world where we are exposed to hundreds of chemical toxins each day through our air, food, water, household cleaning and beauty products.  Not to mention there are over 80,000 new chemicals released into our environment each year and that number is only growing. 

 So finding simple ways to detox your life daily is essential to living a vibrant healthy disease-free life.  

Here are 3 ways you can start detoxing with coconut oil right now!

 
Untitled design (7)
 

Cleanse your teeth by oil pulling with coconut oil

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that will help to remove toxins, bacteria, mucus and plaque from your mouth. This is a result of swishing and pulling oil around your mouth which traps the bacteria and toxins making it easy for removal. You can use different oils for this, but I prefer to use organic coconut oil because of its antibacterial properties. Monolaurin is found in coconut oil and is a fierce bacteria and virus killer. As an added bonus, it's also said to whiten teeth and freshens breath!

Do this first thing each morning:

  • Scoop 1 Tbsp of organic coconut oil into your mouth. (When first getting started, you can cut the amount in half and work your way up to the full tablespoon.)
  • Swish and pull the oil all around your mouth for 15-20 minutes. (Don't worry if it's weird at first, you can start with 10 minutes and build up if needed.)
  • Spit the oil out into the trash. Make sure not to swallow any so you don’t reabsorb all the toxins and germs that you worked so hard to remove. It’s important to remember not to spit the coconut oil in the sink because it will solidify and clog up your pipes.
  • Brush teeth immediately after.

Use organic coconut oil as a safe natural moisturizer

Each day the average woman uses about 12 personal care products which contain over 160 chemicals. Men are no different using an average of 6 personal care products which contain over 80 chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed right through our skin, our body’s largest organ. Anything we can do to cut down on exposure to these toxins will help in a big way! Not to mention using coconut oil is much easier on your wallet than buying several of beauty products each month.

  • Replace your facial moisturizer with coconut oil. You may think that putting oil on your face is silly especially if you already have oily skin, like I do, but your body will naturally balance out the oil on your skin rather than produce more oil. It’s a great way to get rid of acne because of its antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
  • Swap out expensive lotions for coconut oil. Your skin will soak up this goodness and feel soft and smooth. Add your favorite essential oils to create your own personalized scent.
  • Use as an eye makeup remover at night. The skin around our eyes is very delicate as it is, so when you use coconut oil to remove your eye makeup you are not only hydrating the skin but also irritating the skin less.
  • Use coconut oil as in place of massage oil. Add some essential oils like lavender for a calming effect.

Swap out your morning cup of Joe with coconut oil

You probably gasped when you read that and don’t worry, I’m not asking you to remove coffee forever. But it is good to detox from it every once and a while to help your body easily remove toxins. Unless you are using a high quality organic coffee, which it’s likely you’re not if you’re stopping by the corner coffee shop on a daily basis. You are probably drinking large quantities of coffee that has been sprayed when chemical pesticides. Not to mention you are providing your body with fake energy masking how you are really feeling.

So instead of grabbing a coffee, reach for a shot of coconut oil first thing in the morning for a boost of natural energy. Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MTCs) which do not need to be digested like normal foods but instead it goes straight to the liver, our body’s main detox organ, and is metabolized rapidly. This is what gives your body that clean burst of energy. As an added bonus coconut oil can also help you to reduce some of the pesky belly fat you may be trying to lose.

Start adding these simple detox practices into your daily routine and you will start to feel amazing in no time! 

 

3 Scary Reasons To Avoid Gluten NOW

I'm sure you know at least a handful of friends by now that are "Gluten-free". Am I right? Nowadays, "gluten-free" is definitely a buzz word we hear a lot. Everyone seems to be going gluten-free and for good reason.

Did you know that more than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten?

Or that 1 in 30 people have a gluten sensitivity and don't even know it?

That means that YOU could be walking around with a gluten sensitivity that's making you sick!

This reminds me of my good friend and detox partner Jill Hoffman's story. Several years ago before Jill became a health coach, she actually worked with her own health coach. After her coach recommended that she take out gluten from her diet, her life changed. She had more energy, her brain was clearer, her digestion improved AND she lost those last pesky pounds that would never budge.

I seriously hear stories like this time and time again.

So, if you still eating whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta and think you're doing yourself a favor, then keep reading.

 
gluten word written  in wheat flour on wooden board
 

What's the deal with gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins commonly found in wheat products such as bread, pasta, and cereal and it's used mostly as a binding agent and provides that doughy texture we love so much.

Avoid-gluten-334x400.jpg

3 Reasons To Avoid Gluten If You Are Sensitive:

1. Gluten sensitivities can lead to auto-immune disease. Gluten can cause an auto-immune response in your system where your body attacks itself. This happens because the protein in gluten resembles human tissue. So, when your immune system is trying to attack the foreign gluten invader, it might accidentally attack your other organs or tissues such as your thyroid or even your brain. There is massive research that connects the increase of auto-immune disease in people with the rise of gluten-containing foods.

2. Gluten is often responsible for resistant weight loss, poor sleep and skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Gluten causes an inflammatory response in your body which, over time, becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation, whether due to stress, food sensitivities or environmental toxins, almost always show up as weight and skin problems.

3. Gluten messes with our brain. Because gluten is hard to digest, our gut gets full of undigested food particles...yuck! This can lead to an imbalance of bacteria (dysbiosis) and eventually lacerations in our gut lining (leaky gut). Also, yeast feed on the undigested particles and so we can develop issues like candida, which can be extremely problematic. What does this have to do with your brain? Well, your brain and gut are very intimately connected especially when it comes to your mood. About 90% of your serotonin (a.k.a. happy hormone) is produced in the gut. When you have all this chaos on in your gut, then your brain is not getting enough serotonin, and then you're feeling the "Monday Blues" every single day.

How do you know if you are sensitive to gluten?

Based on my research and experience's that I've had with clients, the best way to determine if you have a gluten sensitivity is to go through a strategic elimination diet. This is where you would remove the food you are challenging (gluten) for a period of time and then reintroduce it back or "challenge" the food to see how your body reacts. A few notes about this:

  • Gluten is something that can stay in your system for a long time because it is a large protein. So, to really test it out, you may need to remove it for more than the usual 2-3 weeks, perhaps even a few months to really get it out of your system.
  • Many people who are sensitive to gluten are often sensitive to other foods such as dairy because the proteins mimic each other. What this means is that if you only do an "elimination" for gluten, then you might not see much of a change because you're still eating dairy and other possible allergens. It's recommended to do a full elimination diet for best results.

Gluten Free: Yay or Nay?

I think it goes without saying, that if you know you're sensitive to gluten then you should definitely avoid it as much as possible, if not completely. In our modern "fast food" world it can be difficult if not impossible to be 100% gluten-free.

But, for most of us, eliminating 90-95% of gluten from our diets can have a dramatic effect on how we feel and our susceptibility to disease.

Once you get over the initial hump of "gluten withdrawal" and discover a whole new world of delicious foods that can give you the same satisfaction as a bowl of cereal (sans the gas and bloating), you will never want to go back.

If you find out that you are not sensitive to gluten, then you have more wiggle room. BUT, gluten is very hard to digest and because of all the issues I mentioned above, you can develop a sensitivity that can eventually lead to symptoms and disease.

So, my recommendation, is to either minimize it or eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you want to stay healthy and symptom free. You want to do this by adopting a whole foods diet that's rich in organic veggies and fruits, along with healthy fats, clean protein, and gluten-free grains, if tolerated. I highly caution you to be skeptical of the "gluten free" products out on the shelves. If you flip over the box and look at the list of ingredients, very often you'll find a large list of processed and sugary ingredients that do more harm than good.

Stick to real food and you're good to go!

What are your experiences with gluten? I want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly down in the comments below!

 


Resources: Amy Meyers, MD

Why You Should Start Juicing Right Now + a Green Detox Juice Recipe

Did you know that when you make juice from raw vegetables, your body absorbs the nutrients within 15 seconds? Talk about an energy shot! No need to buy those sugary and chemical-ish concoctions from your local drug-store or mini mart. Juicing is an all-natural way to boost your energy and feel amazing. When you juice your fruits and veggies, you end up extracting all the water and nutrients from them and leave behind only the plant fibers. By separating the fruit or vegetable from its fiber, we gain access to all of the amazing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients which are much more easily assimilated by our body than if we were to eat them.

This allows your body to absorb the nutrients more quickly, without having to digest the dense bulk of the plant. You can also fit an amazing amount of veggies into a single glass of juice, making it a great way to use up those extra veggies from your garden or CSA share. PLUS, you will end up with a glass of deliciousness that packs a powerful nutritional punch.

I bet you are thinking that stocking up on enough fresh organic vegetables to make daily juices can be somewhat expensive, and I totally hear your concerns. But the way I see it is if you cut back spending money at the local coffee shop each week or maybe even on many of the pre-packaged foods/snacks you may be buying, you will end up saving money in the long run on your food AND your doctor bills. The beauty is that organic veggies are getting easier to find and are not as expensive as they once were. I have actually been able to find some really great deals on organic vegetables here in NYC where EVERYTHING costs twice as much as every other city in America. I saved even more money and bought this amazing little juicer from Hamilton Beach (affiliate link) for less than $60 on Amazon and it has really fit my needs well since I started juicing this year.

Juicing is really fun and a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins and nutrients in especially if you aren't a big vegetable eater. I definitely don't want you to get discouraged by cost or know how because this is one of the best things you can do for you health. Just start slow, try a juice per week and work your way up to several per week - there is no wrong way to do it!

One more thing before I go:  while you can control the quality of ingredients when you are making fresh juice at home, always read your labels when it comes to buying store-bought juice. These juices can be high in sugar and have a high glycemic load, which may cause blood sugar imbalances.

Here is an amazing juice straight from my newSexy Summer Detoxprogram to get you started!

 
Slim & Sexy Green Detox Juice
 

Slim & Sexy Green Detox Juice

  • 1 bunch organic kale
  • 1 organic cucumber
  • 1 cup organic parsley
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 green (or red) apple
  • 1 thin slice of ginger root

Have you tried juicing yet? What's your favorite juice recipe?

 


Makeover Your Health With the Elimination Diet

When I first started on my health and fitness journey about 4 years ago, I started experiencing uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive issues which was starting to drive me crazy! I had never experienced these issues before or at least I never noticed because of all of the junky nutritionally void foods I was dumping into my body the many years prior. I was determined to figure out the foods that where working with and those that worked against my body in order to lose weight and be healthier. When you realize that your digestion is much less than optimal and you feel terrible, it is time to do something about it. I got to that point and started noticing that I had symptoms like gassiness and belly bloat that started happening frequently. I knew I needed a reliable way to find out WHY this was happening and, more importantly, WHAT was causing my discomfort. That’s when I found out about the Elimination Diet.

 
Elimination diet
 

The Elimination Diet is the approach I use in my 28 Day Beat Belly Bloat program to help my clients figure out which foods they are sensitive to so that they can eat mindfully, keep their digestive symptoms at bay and start losing weight. About 80% of your immune system is in your gut and is considered the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep it healthy and keep things running smoothly. It's also been discovered that if your body is in a constant state of inflammation, it can prevent you from being able to lose weight.

In the elimination diet, you start by eliminating common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens. 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. The categories of food to eliminate are:

  • Grains – The foundation of the Food Pyramid for decades, at one point the government suggested we eat 6-11 servings of grains per day. It has now been discovered that many people have a hard time digesting grains, including corn.
  • Processed Foods – There are many toxic chemicals (like MSG, artificial colors, and flavorings) and other undesirable ingredients (like GMOs, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup) in processed food that can impede digestion and even cause disease.
  • High Glycemic Foods – Large amounts of starches and added sugars can feed a bacterial overgrowth (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth aka SIBO) and other gut dysbiosis problems.
  • Gluten and Fructans – Found in many grains, gluten has been found to be one of the causes of leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases. Fructans are found in FODMAPS (short-chain carbohydrates) and can also feed those bad bugs in your gut.
  • Soy - Over 90 percent of all soy grown is genetically modified and is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Many people can't tolerate soy but have no idea because they eat so much of it on a daily basis via processed packaged foods. Soy phytoestrogens cause infertility, breast cancer and hypothyroidism. It contains high levels of phytic acid which reduce absorbtion of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
  • Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oil – The top offenders are corn, soy, safflower, canola and vegetable oils.  These can cause inflammation throughout your body and destroy your health.
  • Feedlot Meats and Dairy – Meats and dairy from the conventional food system are full of hormones, antibiotics, and even poisons such as arsenic. These animals are sick and stressed form living in confined polluted spaces.
  • Eggs, Peanuts, and Shellfish – All are common food allergens.
  • Gut Irritants – Caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your gut. Avoid these while you are healing.

The Elimination Phase

All of the common known gut irritating foods we talked about above will be eliminated for an initial 14 days. This is so we can allow enough time for food allergens and other gut irritating foods to fully get out of your system and your symptoms to go away. Make sure to write yourself a list of all the foods you can and can't eat during the elimination period 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 stay on track during this time so that you can really figure out which foods work best for you!

Then, you will gradually reintroduce these foods back in your diet one at a time to see how your body reacts. With certain food, you may notice reactions from it immediately and with others you may feel the effects a day or so later. It is important to keep a food reaction journal during this time so that you can pinpoint exactly how you are feeling both mentally and physically. The entire elimination could take up to 35 days or so depending on how many foods you introduce back in. 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 my Beat Belly Bloat program we start with only 28 days and then my clients have the freedom to add in extra foods if they would like to. I think this is more manageable for clients and their busy lives! 

The Reintroduction Phase:

For two weeks, follow the elimination diet without any exceptions. It is best to have your meals and snacks prepared ahead of time because you don’t want to risk eating foods that may be cooked with unapproved ingredients. If you do eat any packaged foods, you will need to check the labels very carefully for hidden ingredients such as soy, dairy and gluten.

After you have completed the 14 day food elimination diet, you will now start to add foods back in one by one. Introduce one allergenic food in two days increments for 3 meals per day (morning, noon, and night). You will then go back to the strict elimination diet for the next 2 days and monitor how you feel. Take notes on how you are feeling before, during and after the reintroduction. If you notice a server immediate reaction from a food, you can stop there and go ahead and remove the food from your diet and go back to the elimination diet.

Below is the schedule I use during my program with clients who do a general elimination diet of the top known allergenic foods. Follow the schedule below to keep track of what days you will reintroduce each food. Log your food during the elimination and reintroduction phases so you can go back and use it as a reference point.

During this time you will need to document how you are feeling, both during the two reintroduction days and the two days following it. Take note of any headaches, muscle aches, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy, mood swings, fatigue, foggy thinking, etc.

Day 15: Gluten

Day 16: Gluten

Day 17: Back to elimination diet

Day 18: Back to elimination diet

Day 19: Dairy

Day 20: Dairy

Day 21: Back to elimination diet

Day 22: Back to elimination diet

Day 23: Soy

Day 24: Soy

Day 25: Back to elimination diet

Day 26: Back to elimination diet

Day 27: Corn

Day 28: Corn

Day 29: Back to elimination diet

Day 30: Back to elimination diet

Day 31: Eggs

Day 32: Eggs

Day 33: Back to elimination diet

Day 34: Back to elimination diet

Day 35: Discuss

Eventually you will come up with an eating plan that your body will love. Everyone is different and finding your own unique way of eating to feel good will change your life.

If you think the elimination diet might be just what you need to jumpstart your health and relieve annoying belly bloat, then click the button below to grab my freebie 5 Steps to Beat Belly Bloat!

Amber Hale, health and nutrition coach
 


Sources:

Dr. Mercola - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/04/soy-dangers-summarized.aspx

Dr. Axe - http://draxe.com/canola-oil-gm/

Dr. Mark Hyman - http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/27/inflammation-how-to-cool-the-fire-inside-you-thats-making-you-fat-and-diseased/

Eat Wild - http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html

*Heizer, W D., Southern, S, McGovern, S. The Role of Diet in Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: A Narrative Review. JADA 2009; 109: 1204-1214

CalorieLab - http://calorielab.com/news/2011/01/01/big-8-food-allergies/

3 Ingredients to Kick PMS & Cramping to The Curb!

Pms detox

Recently, I got a little personal with everyone on our newsletter and shared for the first time out loud that I haven't had a normal period in over a year and a half - some of them lasting 2 and a half weeks or longer! Trust me, It is as awful as it sounds! Luckily for mine and Chris's sanity, I started to detox all areas of my life - starting with a 10-day whole foods detox and cleanse first, followed by continueing a diet of clean whole foods, then my beauty products and cleaning products, plastics, etc. - and in a pretty short amount of time after I dropped over 6lbs of fat, the sugar cravings stopped, my stomach got flatter and my hormones started balancing out! For the first time in over a year and half, I had a normal 5 day period without PMS, minimal cramping - I'm talking only a couple hours on one day(!), and no lower back pain! It was shocking and exciting for me to feel so good after months of discomfort, pain and flat out annoyance.

During that one evening when I did experience some cramping, I decided I wouldn't take any over the counter meds to ease my cramping...that was my crutch before and it doesn't fit in with my life detoxification any longer. I was going to ease my pain naturally! So today, I'm going to give you my super awesome recipe for dealing with menstrual cramps and PMS in a safer, relaxing and more natural way!

Instead of picking up the pain meds, I reached for some of my favorite daily detoxification tools: Epsom salts, lavender and peppermint essential oils and made an relaxing PMS detoxing bath! Soaking in the warm bath for about 20 minutes soothed my aches, pains and left me super relaxed the rest of the evening. Here is what you do:

  1. Fill bath tub with very warm water, not scolding
  2. Add in 1-2 cups Espsom salt
  3. Just before getting in add 8 drops lavender essential oil and 2 drops peppermint essential oil, then swirl water around
  4. Light a candle, play some calming tunes, soak and enjoy for about 20 minutes

Soak up the benefits:

  • Lavender essential oil – Calms and supports normal hormone levels. It also produces calming and relaxing effects on the body which can be used to relieve cramping, stress and anxiety.
  • Peppermint essential oil - Makes you feel cool, relaxed and energized, reduces inflammation, helps ease cramping, and may help balance hormones.
  •  Hot Epsom salt bath – The magnesium-sulfate from the Epsom salts is absorbed through the skin and help reduce water retention and bloating. It reduces inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps, relieves stress. The heat from the water also heats up the body causing toxins to get sweated out.
 
 

Do you have any favorite natural remedies to relieve menstrual cramps or PMS?

The 24-Hour Detox

The 24 Hour Detox

Don't you just wish you could hit the reset button after an off week or a wild weekend? Maybe you ate a bunch of junk food too many nights in a row or had a few too many drinks at happy hour. You feel bloated and gross, joints are achy, and you flat out feel off balance.When you have a bender of a week, weekend, heck even a month or year...don't worry, we've all been there...you are depriving your body of vital nutrients that it needs to support your main detox organs - the liver, gall bladder, colon and kidneys. Our bodies are already experiencing toxic overloaded from the many toxins we come into contact with on a daily basis which it makes it  harder for our detox organs to do their jobs and excrete toxins naturally. This overload is why we start feeling so bad and it shows up in the form of many awful symptoms that are often unexplainable!

WHERE ARE ALL THESE PESKY TOXINS COMING FROM?

The toxins that come in from outside sources such as those junky nutritionally deficient foods we eat and the many boozy beverages we had in excess are called exogenous toxins. You also accumulate even more exogenous toxins from air pollution - both indoor and outdoor, pesticides on our food and sprayed in the air, chemicals from beauty products we use on our skin, as well as cleaning products we use in our home and even the mercury dental fillings (amalgams) in your mouth. Each year, the number of chemical toxins that we are exposed to dramatically increases because currently there is no system set in place to regulate the amount and type of chemicals that companies can use in their products. Over time, these excess toxins build up in our body and create a heavy toxic burden.

If it's not bad enough that we are storing all of these toxins from our environment, our bodies are also trying to deal with the endogenous toxins that are created from inside our bodies - such as sex hormones, neurotransmitters, folate, iron, etc.

TIME FOR A DETOX!

Detoxing and cleansing occasionally is essential to keep our internal ecosystem balanced by removing the buildup of toxins that are wreaking havoc on your health. It's important to keep our detox organs running smoothly so we are able to excrete toxins efficiently. When our body is balanced, It's easier for you to manage your weight because your metabolism and digestion will be stronger, you will also have clearer glowing skin as well as stay healthier because your immune system will be stronger. 

Unfortunately, detoxing has become such a fad and there is a ton of misinformation out there so people often believe that they have to starve themselves by fasting or juicing in order to detox. But that's simply not the case! You can start right now just by eating delicious nutrient-rich detoxifying foods!

NUTRIENT-RICH DETOXIFYING FOODS

  1. Carrots, garlic, onions, eggs and salmon to support Glutathione production
  2. Brazil nuts are rich in Selenium which helps your body recycle and produce even more glutathione. Just two a day provides your body with all the selenium it needs.
  3. Flaxseed provides Fiber to help your digestion move along. If your bowels aren't moving then toxins will build up in the colon creating a more toxic environment.
  4. Carrots, eggs, and salmon contain essential B vitamins
  5. Cilantro to assist with the removal of heavy metals
  6. Grapefruit provides fiber, it's packed with vitamins and nutrients that will help to replenish the nutrients that your body needs in order to repair damaged cells in your body, and may promote weight loss

Now these are just a taste of a few great foods for detoxifying your body, there are tons more that you can incorporate into your diet daily!

THE 24 HOUR DETOX

This is a quick 24 hour detox modified from Alisa Vitta at Flo Living that will help get you to bounce back and reset your body! Use the detox as a guide, you will ultimately have to decide on the right portion sizes that you need in order to fuel your body. Just remember, THERE'S NO STARVING IN DETOXING! If you feel like you need a 48 hour detox, then you can just repeat this meal plan for the 2nd day. Make sure you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day to help flush out toxins!

Breakfast:

  • Hot water with the juice of one lemon on an empty stomach
  • Green apple with sugar free sunflower butter

Mid-Morning Snack:

  • Green smoothie:
    • blend romaine lettuce, 1/2 inch ginger, cucumber, celery, juice of 1/2 of lemon, 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Lunch:

  • Raw fennel celery, and apple salad
    • 1/2 fennel head, cored and sliced thin
    • 1 rib of celery chopped
    • 1/2 chopped apple
    • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
    • Toss all ingredients together
    • Cilantro and onion omelet
      • Whisk together 3 organic eggs, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, sea salt and pepper
      • Oil pan with 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, add 1/4 cup chopped onion and cook for a couple minutes
      • Add remaining ingredients into pan. Cook thoroughly, lifting edges of the omelet and tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg mixture to flow underneath and cook evenly.

Mid-Day Snack:

  • Melon in season or  Grapefruit (choose one)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs

Dinner:

  • Asparagus, onions & Garlic
    • Chopped and roasted at 425 degrees with coconut oil, with salt and pepper
    •  Salmon
      • See recipe below
      • Carrots
        • Steamed with cinnamon

Dessert:

  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 2 dates

Garlic Dill Salmon - serves 4 

  • 1 pound salmon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed or 1 Tbsp fresh
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse fish and put into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add dill, lemon juice, and onion powder and pour over fish. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, basting with remaining sauce after 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Fish is done with flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy! 

 


7 Ways to Kick Your Cold to The Curb Naturally + Garlic Chicken Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

Tired of the winter yet? Despite the many ice burgs that we have to jump over to get around the streets of New York City these days, Chris and I still love snow! We are actually heading to Vermont early Friday morning to go snowboarding with friends for the weekend.

But as much as we love snow, cold and winter, we also have to face the facts that it is cold and flu season. If you aren't already, it's a great time to start eating homemade soup and bone broth to keep your body warm and your immunity strong. I was down for the count last week, first with a bad cold, then a 24 hour bug. It all really snuck up on me and I wasn't prepared for it. But as soon as the symptoms hit, I started eating as many healing foods as possible! I think for the first time in years, I resisted taking any cold or flu medications. I still had all my yucky cold symptoms, but I let my body have the rest it needed and go through the motions naturally. I've been so accustomed to heavily medicating myself anytime I feel bad, and I often overlook the power that natural remedies have!

Next time you are sick, try these 7 natural ways to kick your cold to the curb:

  • Take a break from the gym and daily life to let your body fully rest. As much as we all hate to get out of our routine and slowing down, sometimes it's necessary for good health!
  • Drink delicious teas like organic green, peppermint, ginger, and eucalyptus. Add in fresh ginger, turmeric, raw honey and lemon.
  • Start the day by drinking warm lemon water in the morning to get some of its antiviral benefits. I even made this amazing sweetened raw apple cider elixir from Delighted Momma that tasted amazing! I subbed orange juice in for the fruit juices she suggested, for added vitamin C.
  • Use more antimicrobial foods like organic cold pressed coconut oil, coconut flakes, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, raw honey and garlic. These foods have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties that kill bacteria and viruses in our bodies.
  • Get high amounts of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, through natural and supplemental sources to help speed up recovery.
  • Gargle with warm salt water every few hours to help relieve sore throat.
  • Drink homemade meat stock and bone broth to help sooth and heal your gut lining to boost your immunity. I posted recently about how far off we've strayed from the traditional cooking methods of our ancestors. They would use not just the meat but also the bones of animals to make nourishing meals to cure the common cold and flu as well as many other digestive and physical ailments. Broths are great to keep on hand and in the freezer at all times. You can drink them on their own, I love broth with lemon, salt and ginger, or make a delicious soup in minutes, like the recipe below!
 
 

Garlic Chicken Sweet Potato Soup

2-3 serving

  • 10-12 oz organic shredded chicken
  • 4.5 cups homemade bone broth or meat stock
  • 2-3 steamed medium sweet potato cut into chunks
  • 2-3 cups organic kale
  • 4 cup organic spinach
  • 4-5 cloves chopped organic garlic
  • Season to taste with cumin, ginger, and pink Himalayan salt

Precook shredded chicken and steam sweet potato ahead of time. Turn burner on high to medium-high heat. In a large pot add broth and let it come to a boil. Add kale and garlic, then reduce heat to medium-low heat. Once kale is cooked well, add in remaining ingredients and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

I hope that you all are staying healthy this winter! Leave us a comment below and tell us what some of your favorite cold busting home remedies are!

 

Immune Boosting and Gut Healing Bone Broth

I don't think you're ready for this gelly...

Your grandmother was right when she said to drink chicken soup to cure a cold or flu but she was referring to homemade bone broth and meat stock not chemical filled Campbell's or Progresso. Our ancestors were in the know and made gut healing broth out of the bones that came from the meats that they ate, nothing went to waste! But in the land of factory farming and processed food factories that practice faded out and chemically powders took its place for convenience purposes. I don't know about you, but I will take the extra effort along with the wonderful benefits over convenience any day! Bone broth and meat stock are great for supplying magnesium, calcium, glucosamine, amino acids arginine and glycine, collagen, other trace minerals, and much more. It aids in digestion, helps with achy joints, heals the lining of your gut to help boost your immune system and prevent diseases, sickness and leaky gut...just to name a few of the many benefits.

 
 

Talk to your local butcher about getting animal bones or use the carcass of a whole roasted chicken. Any bones, head, neck or feet will do! I can usually find organic necks and backs at Whole Foods throughout the week. These can be frozen until you are ready to use them. Also another great time to stock up is right after a big holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas because they will most likely have an overflow of turkey necks and backs, and will be sold even cheaper than the already low price!

Broth or stock can be used to make delicious soups, to cook your vegetables in for added nutrients, to boil your rice or quinoa, make sauces or gravy, or you can drink it alone from a mug throughout the day.

 
Awakened Nutrition Bone Broth
 

Classic Bone Broth

Ingredient:

  • 2-3lbs of bones, preferably organic, free-range/pasture raised
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, Braggs brand
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt

Optional:

  • organic garlic, onions, celery, carrots and parsley

Instructions:

To make broth in your slow cooker or stove top in a stock pot:

Soak 2-3lbs of bones in 4 Qts cold water with 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar for about 30 minutes, this will pull the minerals out of the bone.

After soaking bring water to a boil and skim the gunk and fat off top of the broth with a spoon for the first hour. Add 1-2 tsp of sea salt, I use pink Himalayan salt.

Then, leave alone to simmer for the next 12-24 hours. For the last hour of simmer add in your favorite vegetables, I add organic garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Add parsley and other fresh herbs for the last 10 minutes if desired.

Strain out the bones and vegetables, I use a sheet of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag (these are great because you don't waste as much and can wash the bags to use over and over!) to catch anything left behind.

Let cool and either store in wide-mouth mason jars to keep in the fridge or freeze to enjoy later or go ahead and use the broth as a base to make a huge pot of your favorite soup to eat throughout the week! Broth will last up to a year in the freezer and 5-7 days in the fridge. If you use the freezer, make sure to use wide mouth jars and leave about an inch or so extra room at the top so the jars do not crack. I also like to put the lids on loosely when I first put them in the freezer and then tighten the lids once the broth is frozen solid. 

*If making a meat stock you can cook your whole chicken in the slow cooker first for a few hours and once done, remove and debone meat, then throw the bones back in the pot and add more filtered water to cover if need and continue cooking for 12-24 hours.

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Leave a comment below telling us your favorite way to enjoy bone broth?

Resources:

Sally Fallon - Weston A. Price Foundation "Broth is Beautiful" http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/broth-is-beautiful 


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