You probably know by now that I am a big believer in foundational health. I believe that setting the stage for overall health and vitality begins by setting a solid foundation. A foundation that is built upon 7 pillars*, one of which is sleep! It may seem that the amount of sleep you get has very little to do with your nutritional choices, however, I would beg to differ. Ever been too tired to cook a healthy dinner and opted for ordering pizza or Thai food instead? Me too, we’ve all been there.
If the endless chocolates, truffles, and candies that surround us on Valentine’s Day leave you craving a treat but wishing there were a healthier option for your chocolate fix, I’ve got you covered.
58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased during the week of Valentine’s Day, but unfortunately those heart-shaped boxes are commonly made with ingredients such as:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
- a sweet syrup made from processed cornstarch that has been linked to obesity1, diabetes, heart disease, and even dementia. The process of manufacturing high fructose corn syrup is less expensive than table sugar, which is why it is so prevalently used as a sweetener. According to medical doctor Mark Hyman, high fructose corn syrup is also capable of damaging the intestinal lining2, leading to inflammation and leaky gut.
- linked to allergies, hyperactivity, and other related behavioral problems. Also, be aware of “caramel coloring” which sounds more natural than it is. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, this artificial brown coloring is made by reacting sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures, resulting in the formation of compounds which were shown to cause lung, liver, or thyroid cancer as well as leukemia in laboratory mice during government-conducted studies3.
Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
- a food additive used to preserve processed foods and keep them tasting fresh. In a government study, TBHQ increased the incidence of tumors in rats4 and according to the National Library of Medicine, this compound has been found to cause liver enlargement, paralysis, convulsions, and neurotoxic effects5.
We may not all agree on who the Super Bowl LIII champs will be, but can we agree that it doesn’t feel like Super Bowl Sunday without some crispy buffalo wings on the table? Good, glad that’s out of the way. There is something about some good ole buffalo wings that really get my salivary glands working overtime. Fun fact about me – I ordered buffalo wings for dinner before prom when I was in high school. Yep – I’m not even embarrassed about it:)
This recipe is super clean (Whole 30 in fact) so have fun while indulging guilt-free and may the best team win!
We are more than half way through January and resolutions and goal setting are still fresh on my mind. For those of you who have set New Year’s resolutions, I hope you are knocking them out of the park! For those still looking to make a healthy change, I wanted to lay out three essential steps that you can take to improve your health in 2019. These steps don’t include extreme diets, extensive juice cleanses, or workout marathons, and even better, they are extremely easy to maintain throughout the entire year!
1) Start each day with a full glass of water
Water is necessary for an array of critical functions in your body, such as removing waste from your cells, increasing your cells’ ability to communicate with each other for better body function, and even empowering your body’s natural healing processes.
Your body is made of about 60% water and if that percentage drops by as little as 2%, it can cause issues like fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, and headaches. Water is considered the most important nutrient in your body and is one of the most common deficiencies as well.
After a couple of warm weeks here in North Carolina, the cold weather has finally hit and it is certainly feeling like winter (at least for us Southerners). When the cold weather hits, I want nothing more than to cozy up with a blanket and a big bowl of healthy comfort food. This Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash definitely fits the bill.
The acorn squash in this recipe packs its nutritional punch with its amazing concentration of carotenoids (mainly alpha-carotene and beta-carotene) along with a healthy serving of pectin (a naturally occurring fiber). The high fiber content of the squash helps to steady the release of sugar in the digestive tract and helps to lessen the overall glycemic response to meals.
Be prepared…this recipe may quickly become one of your favorites.
With 2019 right around the corner, many of us have likely spent some time reflecting on 2018 and thinking about the year to come. With goal setting season upon us, I wanted to share a few thoughts to keep in mind when preparing to crush your 2019 goals.
Start with something only slightly out of your reach
Making a change doesn’t mean that it has to be life-changing from the get-go. Start small. Don’t make it too difficult. It has been documented that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Think – not too hard, not too easy, but just right! For example, if meal planning is on your list of things to implement this year, don’t go from 0 to 100 with your planning. If this is something new for you, start with committing to planning out two days a week and increasing once you are consistently meeting your goal. This way you stay within your peak motivation sweet spot and will be a meal plan pro by the end of the year.
If you can’t already tell by my logo and the look of my website, I LOVE beets!
The humble beet is an antioxidant-rich root vegetable that provides serious support for the liver and gallbladder. The deep pigments that give beets their rich color, called betalains, are special phytonutrients that provide anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits.
Loaded with a variety of additional nutrients such as folate, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and vitamin C, beets are a great way to increase the nutrient-density of your diet.
Everyone always thinks that the first step in starting along the path to better health is to remove offending foods from your diet. You know what I am talking about, ditch the grain, ditch the sugar, ditch the dairy. Sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, removing offending foods from your diet is certainly necessary, however, sometimes it just seems less daunting to start by ADDING something simple. You know, get a simple win under your belt before moving on to a more daunting task. And that simple something is WATER.
Water is the most important nutrient in the body, making up about 55% to 60% of total body mass, yet it is also one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. Water plays multiple key roles in the body and it is absolutely necessary to consume it on a daily basis as we are constantly losing water throughout the day as part of our normal metabolic processes. While the amount and distribution of water are regulated within the body, it cannot be stored for long periods of time. In fact, we can go about 8 weeks without food, but only a matter of days without water.
With the Holiday season upon us we are entering one of the most wonderful times of the year (they wrote a song about it for a reason). Between the get togethers with family and friends, Christmas music, time off from work, and watching Christmas Vacation on repeat, there is certainly something to be said for these two special months of the year. However, with the all the good things to look forward to, the Holiday season inevitability brings up some feelings of anxiety around staying on track with your health goals during this extended time of celebration. If this resonates with you, don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone. To help keep those anxious feelings at bay, I have a few tricks to help you stay on track during this Holiday season.
Don’t be afraid to Host
When planning your Holiday get togethers this season, think about doing the hosting. As the host, you are in control and can plan the majority of the meal around nutrient dense, whole food, that not only tastes great but is also nourishing to your body. You will walk away from the celebration guilt-free and your guests will find your commitment to your health goals inspiring.
Focus on the Protein
Any time you see a Holiday spread in a magazine, the bird is always the focal point of the meal. However, in reality, we tend to load our plate with the starchy carbs when we are eating these celebratory meals. Protein is the most satisfying of the macronutrients, so give the bird the attention it deserves and enjoy a healthy portion of organic, roasted turkey when making your plate. The protein will help you avoid over-indulging on the often times less healthy side dishes.