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

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.