"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food" -Hippocrates

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Motivation Monday!

Okay, seriously, are you looking for some motivation?? Patti started eating CLEAN and Exercising, 3 months ago during my 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge. But she didn't stop after 30 days.

 Check out her results...so far :)



Down 42 Pounds
Hips: DOWN 10 Inches!
Waist: DOWN 4 Inches!

CRAZY!! Huh?! This makes me so excited because she is proof that dedication, hard work, healthy eating, and exercise work.. It's simple. Eat what was made to go into your body, and move!

If you are looking to make changes yourself, check out my Clean Eating Resources to get started! I also have workouts to get you moving as well!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Calorie Burner-HIIT Workout

Have you heard of H.I.I.T. Workouts? H.I.I.T. stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This style of training has many perks to it. It's quick, efficient, convenient, flexible, and burns calories!

This style of training typically consists of short all out bursts of exercise, followed by either a shorter or longer rest period. During those all out bursts, you can push yourself to your own individual max-level. This style is awesome because any fitness level can do it, since you are pushing yourself to your own level. This is very timely, so you can get this completed in about 20-30 minutes! Depending on how fast you move!

Here's a HIIT Workout that you can try out!

Feel free to take extra rest periods as you need them. You can also adjust the number of rounds that you complete. If 4 rounds of each seems like to many, try to get through at lest 2-3 of each, and work your way up.

H.I.I.T. Workouts have been proven to:
-Decrease Risk for Heart Disease
-Increase VO2 Max (aerobic capacity)
-Increase Fat Burn (lypolisis)
-Increase Insulin Uptake 
-Improve Metabolic Health

It's worth trying it out! :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Clean Eating Challenge Results!

The "Clean Eating" Challenge turned out to be a great success! What an awesome and eye opening experience this was! Myself and others quickly learned how much crud is added to our foods. It's amazing how "out of sight, out of mind" food can be. If you don't read or think about the ingredients you are putting into your body, then you often do not think about the effects. Being aware is so key.

Throughout this challenge I had the opportunity to hear from friends, family, and acquaintances who joined me for this challenge. I want to share some of the feedback and results that I received....

16 lbs
2 inches from waist
2 inches from hips
 1 inch from bust
1.5 in from thighs
What are some changes that you felt from this challenge? 
"Mental clarity.  Energy.  Clothes fit better and I dropped a pants size.  I have had more confidence."  

What's your biggest take away from this challenge, any new habits? 
"Lots of new habits.  I haven't needed or had any caffeine and only drink water.  Eating breakfast and making my work meals ahead of time to avoid temptation."

More Feedback...

"I have lost 3lbs and my stomach looks a lot better than it did. I've definitely noticed the biggest change there. I'm no longer as bloated and my stomach just feels slimmer lol so that's always a good thing!"
"This challenge has definitely given me a different perspective on how much we pollute our bodies everyday! So I've just become more aware overall and I'm still striving to make better habits and to continue to eat healthy and clean!"
"I've lost 8 lbs so far but better yet, I feel good. Really good. My energy level is up I feel like exercising."

Thank you, to all of those that joined me in this 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge!  

If you are interested in completing this Clean Eating Challenge, visit my Clean Eating Page with all of the links to previous posts, and additional helpful websites...

Monday, March 17, 2014

A New Journey

Meet my fun-loving and bubbly cousin Suzy and her husband Josh!
Suzy and Josh have made the choice to make their health a priority, and what's even better is that they have decided to do it together. Their journey started in February, and I am proud to share their progress! Take a look at how fabulous they are doing!!

"I really put my life change in to full swing on Sunday, Feb 16, 2014.  My starting weight was 216.4. I follow the weight watchers point system, but you can do that and still get away with making seriously unhealthy food decisions.  That same day, Josh and I joined the gym and he decided to join me in my journey for better health and clean eating.  We go to the gym 5-6 times a week, cardio everyday for at least 35 minutes.
Along with that, we decided to not just watch what we ate in regards to the nutritional numbers (calories, fat, protein, carbs), but the nutritional value it also offered.  All that processed stuff can be low fat or low sugar, but they're also low nutrient.  We focus on the outer perimeter of the grocery store: fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meats and seafood.  We buy processed and pre-made items at a minimum (like Silk Almond milk, high fiber wraps, and low sugar salad dressing).  We do our best to make meals, not just heat something up. 
I try to limit weighing myself to just once a week on Sunday (but I usually cave mid-week, I like to know if I'm on track). We both have changed to drinking mostly water (although I still have coffee daily, just much less, or hot tea in the evening).  
The best thing about this is we are doing this as a team.  We have the support of one another at the gym, at home (especially in the kitchen), and a text message away all the time.  We've both made healthy changes that are realistic for life long habits!  It's been three weeks, and I am more excited every single day.  I cannot wait to see the difference in six months.  We're taking pictures once a month so we can use them as motivation."

Seriously, how awesome are they?! 
Suzy's Measurements:

  • 6.5 pounds DOWN...and counting. 
  • Waist is DOWN 1.75 inches
  • Abdominal is DOWN 2.5 inches
  • Hip is DOWN .5 inches

She is directly on track for a healthy, sustainable weight loss. (1-2 pounds/week).I can't wait to give you another update in a few months.

This shows that change is possible, and even better when you have the support, accountability, and love from those that mean most to you! Thank you for sharing your journey (So Far!) Suzy and Josh!!  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eating Clean While DINING OUT

I had a ton of requests about "Eating Clean" while dining out, so here are the best tips i have! Remember, you may not be perfect, but be AWARE of the food you are putting into your body!

here are a few places around Columbus I'd recommend:

{Skip: Sour Cream, Cheese, Salad Dressing, Burrito Shell, Chips}


If you've found "clean" restaurants, please let me know and I will share them with others!

Lastly, remember...this is a lifestyle change, not a "diet." Food is the center of many events, so make the best choices that you can and continue moving forward. Don't let one meal ruin your goals! <3

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Food Labels and Ingredients

I've been thinking about how I should approach this post for a little while, and today I stumbled upon the perfect website to help me. It's called Fooducate.com and I am seriously sad that I did not know of this site sooner. [I am currently nerding out over it, and feeling so pumped to have this as a resource.]
Fooducate is a site that allows you to type in any food product you use (ex: Chobani Greek Yogurt) and it Grades it (A-D), thus, providing you with nutrient information, processing, ingredients, etc. It gives you the true, simple facts you deserve to know about the food you are consuming. I STRONGLY suggest you type in a few of your staple food items and see what you are consuming. [They also have a Smart Phone App, so it's literally like having a dietician and educator with you in the store or out to eat (yes, they grade restaurants too)!!]
Now that we know we have a great resource on hand, let's talk a little bit more about just being educated on food labels and ingredients...so that you can have a stronger understanding before you even have to reach for your handy Fooducate App.

1) Health/Food Claims- geez these can be confusing. "All Natural," "Lowers Cholesterol," "Low Fat," "Sugar Free," etc. The front of the package can definitely draw you in when browsing the isles, but this is certainly not what you should judge the quality of the food from. There are no specific regulations as to what "natural" means on a food label, and "fat free" doesn't necessarily mean that is the best choice, it's more so a marketing tactic. The front of the box is the first step, the second step is looking to the food label and ingredient list.

2) Food Labels-Lets take a look...

3) Ingredients-These are a MUST Read. It is so important to know exactly what you are putting into your body. Otherwise, you are leaving your health in the hands of someone else. Let's go a through a few ingredients to take note of and be aware of:

  • Artificial Ingredients/Preservatives- Oh where do I begin.... well first, ARTIFICIAL. It's not from nature because it was synthetically created to....
    • 1) make food more appealing to the eye {you know, those bright red Skittles..} 
    • 2) give us a "fake" sweet taste, without the calories of normal sugar {while increasing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes...} 
    • 3)Flavor...{why eat a cherry, when you can have a chemical cherry taste?!}
    • 4)Preservatives...these help a food item stay on the shelf for an extended period of time. If it's fresh, it probably shouldn't be able to last for 6 months-1 year on the shelf. just saying...
    • Artificial Ingredients to Look Out For: Acesulfame, Aspartame, Artificial Colors (Red, Yellow, Blue Dyes), Artificial Flavors, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Brominated Vegetable Oil, etc.

  • Sugar- As a society, we consume large amounts of sugar daily. 22 teaspoons=350 calories {side note: it takes 500 less calories/day to lose 1 pound/week} We think we are doing great by choosing "low-fat" options, but then they load it with sugar to compensate for the loss of fat....SO in turn, the excess sugar floating around in our blood streams is then stored as fat. FAIL. It's confusing.
    • Naturally occurring sugar in REAL Food, is okay-Fruit/Dairy
    • Other Sugars I Consume (IN MODERATION): Organic/Local Honey, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Stevia (no added ingredients), Organic Pure Maple Syrup, Coconut Nectar
    • ADDED Sugar, this is wear it becomes dangerous. Read your ingredient list to find added or hidden sugars...(Beverages, Cereals, Cookies, etc.)
      • Brown Sugar, Corn Sweetener, High-Fuctose Corn Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, Raw Sugar, Sucrose...
    • Here is a great article from Harvards School of Public Health
    • We could reduce the risk of Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Heart Disease, and Cancer if we started watching our intake of ADDED SUGARS.
  • Other added ingredients to be aware of...
    • Sodium- According to HSPH, "The government recommends limiting daily sodium intake to one 2,300milligrams (1 teaspoon). However, nearly 70% of US adults are at risk of developing health problems associated w/salt consumption, and the American Heart Association recommends...1,500 milligrams (2/3 of a teaspoon)."
    • Cholesterol and Fats-
      • Be aware of the amount of cholesterol you consume, especially if you are at risk for diabetes, and heart disease.
      • Saturated Fat-Typically found in animal sources. Watch your intake. Cut back on Red Meat, Cheese, Milk and Ice Cream. Leaner Sources: Chicken, Fish, Nuts, Beans.
      • Trans Fat- Man Made Fat. Added to increase shelf life. This fat can be very damaging to the body's cells. The food label can say "0" (zero) grams, but still consume 0.5 grams/serving. Scan the ingredients: look out for hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. (Fried Foods, Biscuits, Baked Goods, etc. can all be sources)

Lastly, here is an EXCELLENT Guide to building your Plate:

Alright, if you are still with me in this post, you are probably all "educated-out" for the day! I DO hope you found this educational....below are the resources that I used to gather this information. Thanks for stopping by!! :)

Kroger's Simple Truth Brand-Free of 101 Artificial Ingredients and Preservatives

*Disclaimer: Although I am a ACSM-Health Fitness Specialist, I am not a medical professional or registered dietitian. The information that I share on my blog is based on my own experience, personal knowledge and is what works for me. You should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet plan. If you choose to do any of the workouts or health tips featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Clean Snacks

Homemade Lara Bars-DELICIOUS!!

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews, 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds, 10 Pitted Dates, 1 Tsp Vanilla, 1/4-1/3 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips: BLEND in Food Processor, Form Bars or Balls, Chill/Keep in Fridge, and ENJOY! I loved these more than some of the store bought versions.

Cooked Mukimame, Corn and Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

Plain Greek Yogurt (full fat), Fresh Pineapple, Local Honey (more nutrients w/less processing)

Homemade Trail Mix: 1 C. Raw Almonds, 1/2 C. Halved Cashews, 1/3 C. Raw Sunflower Seeds, 1/4 C. Organic Raisins (no sugar added), 1 Tbs. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (sticks to raisins, opt.), Handful of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips...adjust based on personal preference!

Organic Apple Slices, Clean Fruit Dip: Plain Greek Yogurt, Natural Peanut Butter, Cinnamon & Honey!

FRESH. CLEAN. NATURAL. Food doesn't have to be complicated.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sarah's Story

CLEAN Eating can be challenging, and will require lifestyle changes. These changes can be overwhelming at times in the present moment, but the reward of health is the ultimate prize. As I was brain storming for The Clean Eating Challenge, my mind was flooded with ideas and thoughts, and quickly one person came to mind. Sarah. Sarah is a friend from High School that I have had the opportunity to watch transform through Clean Eating, Exercise, and Hard Work. I knew I had to ask her to share her experience. So Sarah so kindly answered questions I had for her, that I hoped would help you with your own Clean Eating Journey!

Here is Sarah's Inspiring Transformation. 
190lbs to 145lbs!!!
1. What inspired you, or made you decide to start "Eating Clean?"
"I was always overweight in high school and when I got to college I gained more weight. I went through periods where I would “diet” and exercise (all cardio) and lose about 10-20 pounds but then would gain it right back. After I graduated college and became an RN, reality hit me. How could I advocate a healthy lifestyle while not living one myself? I started “eating clean” in October of 2012 and lost 15-20 pounds in that month before I started going to the gym in November of that year."
2. What were some of the first changes that you noticed after you started eating more whole foods, and less processed?
"I took progress pictures and looking back I am so glad I did. It helped me to see small changes I probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I focused more on how my clothes fit, not the number on the scale. I also had more energy and a better mood!"
3. What are some of your staple food items that you always have on hand?
"Fresh fruits, vegetables and almonds because they are quick to grab when I’m on the go."
 4. What was your first month of "clean eating" like, and how well did you follow it?
"The first month I stuck to it mostly 100% because I was so eager to see results. It was really hard, but once I started feeling better and got results through the sugar detox it got easier. Studies show that sugar is comparable to drug additions and I completely agree. The longer I stuck to clean eating and said no to processed foods, I noticed my cravings became less. It's a process, but definitely worth it." 
5. What has been your biggest challenge throughout your "clean eating" journey, and how have you overcome it?
"My biggest challenge has been overcoming stress/binge-eating. I also travel a lot and this makes it difficult to stick to a clean diet. I do the best I can and get right back to it when I'm home."
6. Has your view of food and exercise changed at all? If so, how?
"Definitely. I always thought to lose weight I needed to do a “low-calorie” “low-fat” “low-carb” diet and do endless hours of cardio. I now know that it is more important to eat the right foods that may be higher calorie and to eat healthy fats and complex carbs to fuel my muscles. In the gym I focus more on weight training than cardio."
7. Any tips, favorite websites, or advice for someone just starting to “eat clean?”
"Social media has been my biggest influence in this journey. I follow countless fitness and nutrition Instagrams. From these, I find many recipes that help make clean eating fun and taste good! Clean eating doesn’t have to be boring. My biggest advice is to set a goal for yourself and when you hit that goal set a new one."
8. Lastly, what has been your key to success?
"Reminding myself where I started. I have fallen off track and taken steps backward throughout my journey. It happens. I’m human. But I remember that it’s a lifestyle change and I feel so much healthier and happier when I eat clean and exercise!"
I hope you found her as inspiring as I have! Thank you again, Sarah, for allowing me to share your awesome success!! 

  • Fore more information about "Clean Eating," click here

Friday, February 21, 2014

Clean Eating Recipes I've Tried

Quick, Easy, and Convenient Breakfast!

Clean Granola: Rolled Oats, Raw Walnuts & Pumpkin Seeds, Unsweetened Raisins, Raw Honey, Coconut Oil, Vanilla, Sea Salt. See amounts below! Perfect to top Plain Greek Yogurt with!

Clean French Toast! Fun weekend morning breakfast for all!

Homemade Hummus, is Simple and a Cheaper Alternative to Store Bought!

Chia Seed Jam-Perfect to Add to Plain Greek Yogurt to Give it the Fruity Taste w/out the Added Sugar!!

Quick, Easy, and DELICIOUS Cookie

Fun, Friday Night Pizza-Homemade, Fresh and Healthy

Creamy Avocado, Fresh Tomato, and Egg Combo

This fudge whips up quickly, and give you the perfect "Sweet" Fix!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Clean Eating-Meal Ideas

If you are joining me for my "Clean Eating" Challenge, or you are simply looking for healthier meal ideas...I thought I would be helpful share a few picture ideas of what I tried out this week.

1) Rolled Oats and Frozen Strawberries added 1/2 way through cooking
2) Plain Greek Yogurt, Homemade Granola, and Chia Seed Raspberry Jam
3) Organic Orange

1) Organic Apple with Natural Peanut Butter
1) Balsamic Glazed Salmon (Atlantic Wild Caught) 
2) Asparagus Sauteed in Olive Oil and 1 Tsp Garlic
3) Red Quinoa w/garlic powder
4) Baked Sweet Potato
1) Ezekiel 4:9 Bread Topped w/crushed Avocado, Drizzled w/Franks Hot Sauce, Tomato, and 1 Organic/Free Range Over Easy Egg
2) Homemade Banana and Strawberry Granola Bar

1) Leafy Greens, Red Quinoa (better for salads), Avocado, Tomato, Feta
2) Baked Sweet Potato

1) Homemade Trail Mix (recipe coming soon)

1) Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Milk Smoothie

Lastly, I would like to share a meal plan that I tried to follow this week. I am not suggesting this will work for everyone, but I thought I would provide an idea of how I set up my day...for the most part

Check these out too:

Why Clean Eating

Why Clean Eating? Think for a minute about what you had to eat today...Do you know where it came from? How it was processed and made? Do you know what all of the ingredients mean on the food label? Do you question if it's really "healthy?" The sad truth is that most people do not know all of the answers to these questions about the food they consume. And i don't blame them, labeling is confusing, "health claims" aren't always the most accurate of claims, and the abundance of options creates havoc.

Our food should be simple. and let me explain why i think this way. Your body has a process...(not so scientific sounding, by the way)
1. You place the food in your mouth- Chew and swallow (and of course enjoy the taste)
2. It travels to your stomach where it starts to digest the food and break it down.
3. It's broken down into nutrients, which your body then distributes to fuel your cells. Cells-the building blocks of life.
4. Let me repeat. It fuels your cells. Your cells make up your liver, pancreas, skin, etc. As a result, it would make sense that food is fuel for your body, and is needed to function properly. Hence the need for nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fat, water)

Our food is not simple though in the processed world we live in. We have instead taken Nature's Food sources, and added things like Sugar, Sodium, Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavoring, etc. Basically, we have added crud, that doesn't process as well in our body. Which then creates havoc...

If you are still with me in this post :)....you are hopefully starting to see the reasoning behind "CLEAN" Eating. Eating "Cleaner" foods, or foods closer to their natural state can have a very positive impact on your body.

SO if you are joining me for this "Clean Eating" Challenge, I would like to share my overall goals....

*The GOAL is not to be 100% perfect (if you are, that is fantastic), but if you are only 90%, 70%, 50%... that will most likely be a step in a healthier direction than before.

Next, I would like to share a general overview of the types of food to select...

For the next 30 days, I hope to encourage you, educate you, and guide you into healthier eating habits, to in turn establish a healthier lifestyle. Every person deserves to live a healthy life, but it doesn't come without taking ownership of it. It's time to take ownership of your food that you fuel your body with. 

Please email me with questions or if you would like continued updates and weekly email "Check-ins"


*Disclaimer: Although I am a ACSM-Health Fitness Specialist, I am not a medical professional or registered dietician. The information that I share on my blog is based on my own experience, personal knowledge and is what works for me. You should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet plan. If you choose to do any of the workouts or health tips featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Clean Eating Challenge!

Interested? Email Me: LivingNaturalandFree[at]gmail[dot]com

More information to come:
-Challenge Details
-Shopping List Ideas

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Steps to Healthier Eating

I have compiled what I believe are ways to make steps to healthier eating. Being aware of Food Style, Ingredients, Nutrient Density, Beverages, Snacks, Sweets, and what you use to Flavor your food...are all very key.

Everyday you can make small adjustments to your food choices to lead a healthier lifestyle.
*Disclaimer: I do not intend to cure or treat any diseases with this information. This information is based on my own experience, personal knowledge and is what works for me. You should consult a physician before starting or adjusting your diet plan. If you choose to follow any of the health tips featured on this page, you do so at your own risk.