Surviving Fall Festivities: Healthy Style

Surviving Fall Festivities: Healthy Style 

‘Tis the season of wine, cider beer, caramel with apples, and pumpkin spice flavored everything.  So, how do you stay on track with your fitness goals when it’s this wonderful time of the year?

First, a lot of us may be thinking “why worry so much about what I eat this time of the year, it’s going to be winter and I won’t be showing as much skin.”  Here’s the deal—fitness and health are all about a lifestyle.  Summer bodies are made year-round.  You can’t expect to put in a few months of work before Spring Break and get lasting results.  So, with that in mind, here’s a few ways to stay on track this Fall season.

  1. Find Alternatives.  If you enjoy pumpkin flavored everything, invest in some sugar free Pumpkin Spice syrup and go crazy: coffee, protein shakes, etc.  Here’s a Pumpkin Caramel flavor from Amazon: Click Here to Shop.  Do you have a sweet tooth? Instead of candy, go for fruit instead.  Instead of a cookie, check out our German Chocolate Cake Power Ball Recipe (listed below).  These are super easy to grab and go!
  2. Don’t go to Parties Hungry:  This is a good rule to follow in general, no matter the season.

 

German Chocolate Cake Power Balls

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

5 Scoops 1st Phorm Level-1 Protein, German Chocolate Cake Flavor (get Here)

1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter (or smooth, your choice)

1/2 cup raw honey

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons flax seed

Water

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the oats, Level-1 Protein, peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and flax seeds until fully combined. Add water as needed to ensure Protein is mixed/power balls are the right consistency.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Form balls from the mixture (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) and place them on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

 


What You Need to Know to Succeed on a Healthy Diet

What You Need to Know to Succeed on a Healthy Diet

Have you been working hard at the gym but you just aren’t getting the results you expected? Well, I’m gonna give it to you straight here – it’s your diet. Your diet, or should I say meal plan (aka: what you eat everyday), plays a vital role into your overall physique.

You Can’t Outwork a Poor Diet

Back in college when I gained the Freshman 15 (mine was the Sophomore 20), I decided to hop on the cardio machines at the gym for an hour a day. I changed nothing with my diet (I was still eating like an emotional teenage girl), and guess what, nothing changed!

With weight loss specifically, it always comes back to the golden rule:

Food In < Energy Out = Weight Loss

So, let’s just break this down a bit further. When I do a weight training session, I burn approximately 400 calories. That’s roughly 5 slices of bread. That’s about a cup and a half of diced chicken. A Big Mac has 563 calories.

In today’s world, a workout won’t even burn an American Fast-Food Meal (which is quite gross if you think about it). Yes, your body burns calories at rest during the day while doing your normal activities. We will get into that a little later as to how much you should be eating. But, first, let’s talk about the when.

When Should You Be Eating? 

You should be eating every 3 hours roughly. This allows your body to stay in an anabolic state. What does anabolic mean? It means staying in a fat-burning state. For me, this accumulates to 6-7 small meals a day. Why should I be eating that much? The most common mistake I see among clients is eating too little. When I tell clients to eat more, they are confused as to why they should eat more to lose weight.

First, your body runs off of fuel (food) and it takes your body roughly 3 hours to process the food you eat. After your body has processed that food, it begins to go into starvation mode (even if you don’t feel hungry). This is called “Catabolic.” Instead of your body feeding off of fat – it is actually feeding off of your muscle. Of course your body likes to eat the good stuff first, right? And why does this matter? Because having more muscle allows you to burn more fat at rest. Therefore, eating meals more frequently actually allows you to burn more calories at rest because it’s maintaining the muscle on your body!

Second, eating smaller meals throughout the day will help you to not overeat. I notice that after work I’m STARVING because I wasn’t paying attention to how hungry I actually was and then I overeat when I get home. You may experience the same thing. Try to stay on track with your meals throughout the day.

Third, you will feel more awake and more alert throughout the day. Like I said earlier, your body runs off of food and your body needs that food roughly every 3 hours. You won’t experience the afternoon crash if you eat like this – it’s amazing!

Fourth, your metabolism will increase! This is the best result by far. You will be going into your next meal really hungry, and that means that your body has used up all the fuel you gave it earlier and it’s ready for more!

But, Aly, how do I start eating 6 meals a day if I’m not even hungry? I suggest that you start by forcing it at first. Start with breakfast. If you are not a breakfast person, you need to force yourself to be one. You should be eating as soon as you wake up in the morning. Why? Because food is the only thing that will jumpstart your metabolism. You may not wake up hungry in the morning, but if you start having breakfast, I guarantee that in a few weeks your body will adjust and you will wake up very ready for food!

What You Should Be Eating?

What you should be eating is a little controversial. You have probably seen the trendy Keto Diet, Paleo, Flexible Dieting, and many more. Here’s the best way to go about your diet: keep it simple. If it’s not something you can do for the rest of your life, then it’s probably not something you should do at all. A “normal” American diet usually consists of things like pasta and pizza for dinner. This is not “normal.” Try to stick to whole foods that don’t come in a box or the freezer section.

A good rule to follow: Stick to the outside aisles when shopping at the grocery store.

Foods have Macro nutrients and Micro nutrients. Macro’s include: Protein, Carbs and Fat. When looking at the Macro Nutrients, here are some good examples to choose from that fit into each category:

Protein: Chicken breast, Lean/Extra Lean Ground Turkey, Lean Steak, Plain Greek Yogurt, Eggs, Fish, Shrimp

Fat: Avocado, Almonds, Fish, Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil

Carbs: Brown Rice, Rice Cakes, Sweet Potatoes, Red Potatoes, Ezekiel Bread, Fruits (bananas or blueberries are best)

Why are the foods you eat important? Micro nutrients are the reason why your food choices matter. Micro nutrients are the vitamins and minerals in food. For example, let’s take an orange and a jelly bean and compare macro and micro nutrients:

Orange Nutrition: .9g Protein  .1g Fat  11g Carbs

Vitamins: Vitamin C 85% + Other Vitamins

Jelly Bean Nutrition: 0g Protein   0g Fat   10g Carbs

Vitamins: NONE

As you can see, the right choice is an orange because of all the added vitamins!

Again, this should be an overall lifestyle. During life we get cravings. Allow yourself to eat what you want occasionally, just don’t go overboard.

How Much Should You Be Eating?

Portion sizes have gotten out of control in today’s world. So many people overeat, especially at dinner time. I portion my food based on the macro-nutrition (protein, carbs + fat). The reason I do this is because it makes things much easier, and I’m all about ease when it comes to my meal plan. But, how do you calculate what macros you should be eating in order to achieve weight loss? There are quite a few things that go into calculating this number such as resting metabolic rate and activity level. If you are looking for this number, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us for it!

In summary:

  • You can’t outwork a poor diet
  • Eat small meals throughout the day to stay in an anabolic state
  • Keep your food choices simple
  • Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store
  • Figure out your personal Macro-Nutrition goals for what you are looking to achieve

If you are looking to figure out your Macro-Nutrition goals, please reach out to Aly McPherson at PrettyGrittyGirl@gmail.com

 

 


10 Things You Need to Know to Burn Body Fat and Get Lean

10 Things You Need to Know
to Burn Body Fat and Get Lean

This is the ultimate guide to fat loss and getting lean. Whether you’re looking to get swim suit ready for the summer, getting ready for a vacation to the Caribbean, or just want to get rid of unwanted body fat, you’re in the right place. I am going to take you through 10 things you need to know to lose body fat.

1. It’s All About ENERGY Balance

Energy balance is the difference between your energy input—in layman’s terms the calories you consume through food versus the calories your body burns. Some people refer to the energy balance equation as the “calories in, calories out” equation. Calculating your energy balance should be the first step in the process when looking to lose weight, burn fat, or gain muscle. You should calculate your energy balance.

Positive energy balance: This occurs when you’re at a caloric surplus or you are consuming more calories than you burn resulting in weight gain. (Weight gain = energy input > energy output).

Negative energy balance: This occurs when you’re at a caloric deficit or you are consuming less calories than you burn resulting in weight loss. (Weight loss = energy input < energy output). For best results you want a caloric deficit of 500-1000 calories per day to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

There are three ways to change your energy balance. You can reduce your caloric intake, increase your energy output (exercise more), or combine both options to achieve a caloric deficit necessary for weight loss.

2. Resistance Training

The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn. More muscle means your body will burn more calories per day—at rest! Sounds simple, right? However, the only way to build more muscle is to incorporate resistance training (lifting weights) into your exercise program. By incorporating resistance training, your body will signal a stress response to your muscles triggering them to grow bigger and stronger so they become more resilient to the stress of the resistance.

Your body will use more calories as it grows more muscle, but you can also take into account the energy (calories) you’re expending while you’re working out and the energy your muscles use to repair themselves after you’re done. When you put it all into perspective, you can see why resistance training is so important to losing fat and getting lean! In some cases, you don’t even have to cut calories to see some aesthetic benefits from resistance training.

When it comes to your exercise regimen, stick to compound exercises that use large muscle groups over multiple joints to get the most out of your workouts. These include movements like squat variations, deadlifts, bench press, push-ups, rows, pull-ups, etc. Stick to free weights and body weight exercises versus machines. Another thing to consider is rest time between sets. If your main goal is fat loss, you will want to keep the intensity high during your workouts. There are a couple ways you can do this. You can increase the weight or load of the exercise, or decrease the rest time between sets. Typically, you want your rest interval to be 30-60 seconds depending on how heavy you are lifting. Sticking to these simple rules will allow you to burn more calories during your workouts and expedite the fat loss process!

3. Cardio Workouts

Cardio is anything that raises your heart rate. When you think of cardio, you probably think of steady state cardio jogging or cycling for 30 minutes at the same pace and speed. If your goal is to burn fat, interval training should be part of your workout program. Interval training is a great way to get in an effective workout with minimal time and it’s extremely effective for burning fat.

The most important thing about high intensity interval training (HIIT) is that it keeps your body burning fat even after you leave the gym. During an HIIT workout, your body can’t shuttle enough oxygen to your muscles during periods of hard work. Therefore, your muscles accumulate oxygen “debt” that must be repaid post-workout in order to get back to normal. The result: Your metabolism is sky high for hours after your workout. Fitness professionals refer to this concept as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The biggest way to use it to your advantage is to regularly work short, intense bouts of exercise into your workout regimen.

Here are benefits of HIIT workouts:

  • Time efficient
  • Boost metabolism
  • EPOC
  • Stimulates growth hormones
  • Develops cardiovascular system
  • Improved heart health
  • Decreases recovery time
  • Variety of workout types

When creating interval workouts, focus on work to rest ratio. This could be as simple as 30 second sprints followed by 30 seconds of rest for 8 sets. This is an example of an equal work to rest ratio interval. You can make this same workout more difficult by increasing the number of sets or by decreasing the rest interval—30 second sprints followed by 15 seconds of rest. This is a 2:1 work to rest ratio. You may want to consider decreasing the number of sets when decreasing the rest interval for sustainability purposes. Always start with moderate intensity then progress as your fitness level improves.

4. Eat More Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate the body can’t break down into glucose to use for energy. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are beneficial in different ways. Soluble fiber attracts water to form a gel which slows down digestion and delays the emptying of your stomach, helping to keep you full longer. Additionally, it can lower blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol, helping to remove it from the body.

Here is a list of foods that are rich in fiber:

  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • spinach
  • apples
  • berries
  • green beans
  • zucchini
  • whole grains
  • green leafy veggies
  • beans

Fiber rich food slows the release of carbohydrates. Black beans, berries, sweet potatoes, and other high-fiber foods are digested at a much slower rate, causing a slow, steady stream of glucose into your blood stream. On the other hand, low-fiber foods like white bread will digest much faster, causing larger spikes in insulin.

High-fiber foods like broccoli will fill you up and make you feel satisfied longer, even when you eat less food. One cup of broccoli yields about 40 calories with 10 grams of carbs, 4 of which are “unabsorbable” fiber. Compare that broccoli to one cup of pasta that yields around 150 calories with 45 grams of carbs. You’d be able to blow through that cup of pasta like it was nothing, and probably go back for seconds and thirds, but that single cup of broccoli may be filling enough that you feel great for hours.

5. All Calories are NOT the Same

The foods we eat are just as important as the calories they supply. Simply put, everything you eat can be categorized as either a carbohydrate, fat, or protein. Each of these three macronutrients will metabolize differently, even though they all provide calories. One gram of protein provides 4 calories, one gram of carbs provides 4 calories, and one gram of fat provides 9 calories.

If your diet consists of donuts and candy, for example, you’ll look and feel differently than if your diet consists of lean meat and vegetables. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates and fats. This means your body burns more calories breaking down and digesting protein than it does carbs and fats. Additionally, protein is more filling than carbohydrates.

Although protein is an important part of a healthy diet, you certainly shouldn’t derive all of your calories from that one macronutrient. Carbohydrates and fats are essential for optimal health as well. Certain fats, such as medium-chain fatty acids like coconut oil, are actually linked to increased energy expenditure and reduced hunger when included in the diet.

Carbohydrates are your body’s go-to energy source and are necessary for maintaining intensity during your workouts. However, carbohydrates also fill up your body’s glycogen stores quickly, so excess carbs in your diet can also mean excess fat.

Everyone’s body is different. There is not a one size fits all solution to calorie intake or macronutrient breakdown. The best thing you can do is track what’s going into your body, adjust as needed, and repeat that process until you get the desired outcome you want.

6. Track, Adjust, Repeat

This is probably the most important tip for getting and staying lean. You must track your progress, take body measurements, measure body fat, and weight. Also, record your food portions so you know what will work for your body.

I know it sounds too simplistic, but the only real way to figure out what will work for you is trial and error. However, there are a couple of things you can do to make the process easier. Number one, figure out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

This number tells you how many calories you need to consume in order to maintain your current weight based on your activity level. If your goal is fat loss, you will want to subtract 500 from that number and that will be the number of calories you will need to lose weight and burn fat. To be consistent, track and record what you eat to see how close you are to calorie needs. Once you have controlled your caloric intake, you can start to break those calories down into macronutrient ratios.

Ectomorph: If you’re an ectomorph, you’re naturally thin with skinny limbs and a high tolerance for carbohydrates. Usually your metabolic rate is fast. A good starting macronutrient ratio for you would be something like 25% protein, 55% carbs and 20% fat.

Mesomorph: Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and athletic. They have a moderate carbohydrate tolerance and a moderate metabolic rate. Mesomorphs can usually start at a 30% protein, 40% carb, and 30% fat macronutrient ratio.

Endomorph: If you’re naturally broad and thick, you’re probably an endomorph. Endomorphs have a low carbohydrate tolerance and a slow metabolic rate. If you’re an endomorph, try a ratio of 35% protein, 25% carbs and 40% fat.

7. Get Rid of the Sugar

The most common sugars are monosaccharides (glucose, fructose and galactose), but mostly these are occurring as disaccharides (which are sucrose, lactose and maltose). Monosaccharides and disaccharides are two kinds of simple sugars, which are a form of carbohydrate. Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, on the other hand, contain more sugar combinations and are known as complex carbohydrates — for example, whole grain breads, brown rice and sweet potatoes.

Monosaccharides require the least effort by the body to break down, meaning they are available for energy more quickly than disaccharides.

When it comes to fat loss, you will want to be mindful of your sugar consumption as it spikes insulin levels which can cause your body to store excess fat. Glucose and maltose are notorious for affecting insulin levels, but stick to natural sugar from fruit and limit food items with added table sugar or sweeteners.

8. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

A lot of people underestimate the importance of hydration when it comes to fat loss, and drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest steps you can take for a healthier body and mind. Start drinking early in the morning and aim to drink between 3-5 liters per day – depending on your body composition. This will help flush your body of toxins and allow your body to function optimally. Some other benefits of drinking lots of water include: healthier skin, teeth and bones, improved digestion, reduced fatigue and increased fat metabolism.

9. Snacks on Deck

Snacking is often our biggest downfall when it comes to eating well and getting lean. You want to aim for 3 medium sized meals a day (~300-500 calories each) and supplement the rest of your daily calorie needs with 2-3 snacks (~100-300 calories each). Here are a few healthy snack ideas:

  • Protein shake/smoothie
  • Handful of nuts
  • Berries or apple
  • Greek yogurt
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Celery with almond butter
  • Hummus and carrots
  • Cottage cheese

10. Chill Out to Manage Stress

For most of us, stress is a fact of life. Unfortunately, research reveals that it’s also a fact of fat. Even if you usually eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight—or even add pounds.

Your body responds to all stress in exactly the same way. Every time you have a stressful day, your brain instructs your cells to release potent hormones. You get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used very many calories. This can make you hungry…very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.

Levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, rise during tension-filled times. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

A University of San Francisco study published in 2011 found that rats placed in high-stress situations were likely to use fatty and sugary foods to self-medicate; the comfort food had a calming effect on the rats’ brains that restricted the release of stress-related hormones. Stress hormones send messages to the body, one of which is to store fat around the body. The most studied and effective way to reduce stress is meditation, because it lowers cortisol and blood pressure levels.

Here are a few things you can do to relieve stress

  • Meditate
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing techniques
  • Sleep (7 hours or more)
  • Light exercise

Now you are equipped with the information you need to start your journey towards getting lean and mean! Remember, getting the results you want is all about educating yourself so you are prepared to do things the right way. This means doing the appropriate workouts like HIIT and interval cardio workouts to maximize fat burn. Calculate your calorie needs, body measurements, macronutrient goals, and be flexible to make adjustments on the fly. Stay away from foods with added sugars, drink lots of water, eat frequent meals, have snacks ready, and stay stress free!

Looking for a structured program that will help you burn fat and get lean muscle? Try our 8-Week Program: Lean Machine
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How to Grocery Shop with Better Health in Mind

How to Grocery Shop with Better Health in Mind

Vegetable and Fruit Aisle 

You cannot go wrong with fruits and vegetables. Throw anything that appeals to you into the cart. More color variety = the more antioxidants and nutrients you’ll get. **DENOTES HIGH QUALITY NUTRIENTS**

FRUIT

RED

□ Apples**

□ Strawberries**

□ Cherries**

□ Watermelon**

YELLOW/ORANGE

□ Bananas**

□ Oranges**

□ Pineapple**

GREEN

□ Kiwi**

BLUE/PURPLE

□ Berries**

□ Red grapes

□ Figs and Dates**

VEGETABLES

RED

□ Red bell peppers**

□ Tomatoes

YELLOW/ORANGE

□ Baby carrots**

□ Sweet potatoes** (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Corn (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Squash**(starchy carbohydrate)

GREEN

□ Avocado**

□ Broccoli**

□ Spinach, Kale, Power greens**

□ Green Beans**

□ Brussel Sprouts

□ Zucchini**

BLUE/PURPLE

□ Beets**

□ Eggplant**

WHITE

□ Diced garlic or fresh garlic

□ Coleslaw mix

□ Onions

□ Portobello mushrooms** RECOVER. PREVENT. OPTIMIZE. VIVERANT.COM

Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Deli Counters 

□ Turkey or chicken breast**

□ Deli turkey or lean ham

□ Ground turkey, chicken, lean beef**

□ Frozen salmon patties (wild Alaskan)**

□ Frozen seafood fillets (halibut, salmon, mahi mahi, tilapia, etc)

□ Grilled chicken strips

□ Lean beef or pork cubes for stir-frying

Snack Aisle 

□ Almonds

□ Dark chocolate

□ Dried fruit (no added sugar, unsweetened)

□ Graham crackers

□ High-fiber, high protein granola bars (minimum 10 g protein, under 30 g carbohydrates)

□ Pistachios

□ Pretzels

□ Reduced-fat microwaveable popcorn

□ Salsa

□ Seeds (pumpkin, chia, sesame)**

□ Walnuts

□ Whole-grain baked crackers

Baking Aisle 

Herbs and spices—if you are an avid cook: keep a larger collection, but if you do not cook much, at least get:

◦ Black pepper

◦ Salt

◦ Garlic powder

◦ Cinnamon

◦ Chili powder

◦ Italian seasoning

◦ Pre-made spice blend that appeals to you (lemon pepper, montreal steak, Caribbean jerk, etc)

□ Nonstick cooking spray

□ Ground Flaxseed

□ Olive oil

□ Maple syrup

□ Vinegar (try apple cider, balsamic or red-wine vinegar)

□ Whole-wheat flour / Almond flour / Coconut flour

Beverage Aisle 

□ Carbonated water (LaCroix)

□ Coconut water

□ Tea

Condiment Aisle 

□ Oil based salad dressings

□ Low-sodium soy sauce

□ Hot sauce RECOVER. PREVENT. OPTIMIZE. VIVERANT.COM

◦ Black beans

◦ Cannellini beans

◦ Chickpeas

◦ Kidney beans

◦ Your favorite bean

Grain/Starchy Vegetable Aisle 

□ Ancient grain (amaranth, buckwheat, millet, farro)**

□ Barley**

□ Brown rice**

□ Lentils**

□ Quinoa**

□ Whole Wheat pasta

□ Steel Cut oats**

□ Whole-grain cereal (contain at least 3-4 grams of fiber)

□ Whole-wheat bread, English muffins or sandwich thins **

Canned Food Aisles 

□ Beans:**

□ Canned chicken or packets of salmon** and/or tuna**

□ Low-sodium spaghetti sauce

□ Olives

□ Peanut butter/Almond Butter

□ Stewed tomatoes

Frozen Food Aisles 

□ Berries

□ Peas (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Black-bean burgers

□ Chicken breasts

□ Turkey burgers

□ Vegetables (steam able broccoli, California blend)

□ Whole-grain waffles (Van’s power grain)

Dairy Case 

□ Eggs**

□ Feta cheese

□ Plain Greek yogurt**

□ Milk (skim or 1%)**

□ Whipped Neufchâtel cheese

□ Parmesan cheese

□ Mozzarella Part-Skim*

□ 2% cottage cheese**

  • Other Recommendations: 

4 Reasons Why Estrogen Dominance is Growing and How to Prevent It

4 Reasons Why Estrogen Dominance is Growing and How to Prevent It

Over the last 10 years of being a Dietitian, I have seen a growing population in estrogen dominance. Per Charles Poliquin’s “Biosignature hormonal assessment”, those that carry more fat in the triceps and thighs correlates with high estrogen. Other symptoms of high estrogen in the body are:

  • Cellulite or spider veins
  • Heavy periods- PMS, cramps, vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Fat gain around hips and thighs
  • Ovarian cysts, fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis
  • Infertility, miscarriage
  • Depression
  • Thyroid imbalance, blood clots, high blood pressure
  • Men- breasts, prostate problems, hair loss, low libido

Estrogen is considered a female hormone but both genders have it. It is produced in the ovaries, liver and fat cells. It is helpful for the body by increasing HDL and decreasing LDL. Estrogen aids in blood sugar balance, improves memory and sleep and prevents skin wrinkling.

As with anything, too much estrogen can have a negative impact on the body. Too much estrogen in the body is linked to certain types of cancers. Estrogens are difficult to detoxify and are stored in fat cells. This can block the thyroid hormone conversion leading to thyroid imbalances. High estrogen levels can also block serotonin uptake leading to depression and can also increase triglycerides levels and blood pressure/blood clots.

What causes estrogen dominance?

1- Environmental (xeno-estrogens)

Harmful chemicals that mimic estrogen and block binding sites so natural estrogen cannot get in. Farmers have known this estrogen-weight gain connection for years. They use a little synthetic estrogen to fatten their cattle. i.e.- plastic, pesticides, hormones in animals, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, etc.

2- Stress- progesterone is needed to make cortisol. Increased cortisol= decreased progesterone and then relative imbalance of estrogen.

3– Impaired liver or digestion function. The liver breaks down estrogen therefore too much alcohol, drugs, meds, caffeine or poor nutrition disrupts healthy liver function.

4- Use of synthetic estrogens such as birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or hormones in meats.

What should we do about it?

1- Blood lab testing of estrogen, cortisol, DHEA, progesterone to see each levels and correlation. Bring it to your doctor or trained health care professional to establish a baseline.

2- Balance insulin levels.

The University of Toronto revealed a 283% increase in risk of breast cancer when insulin/blood sugar levels were high! Work with your dietitian to develop a plan that balances your blood sugars.

3- Cruciferous veggies help detox bad estrogen. Try to consume Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, bok choy, radishes, rutabaga and watercress daily. Raw, lightly steamed or sautéed in healthy fats are great easy ways to consume these veggies. Consume organic foods as much as possible to reduce pesticides.

4- Lift Heavy Weights. 2-3x week 

online personal training

Women who lift heavy weights 2-3x/week usually have the best body composition which can balance insulin and therefore estrogen levels.

 


4 Tips for Maximum Recovery

4 Tips for Maximum Recovery

As an athlete or gym warrior, it’s easy to get caught up in the barbells, sleds, and plyo boxes. While what you do in the gym is unbelievably important, taking care of your body when you’re not at the gym is equally as important. I have put together a list of 4 tips for maximum recovery to keep you at the top of your game.

Get moving

One of the worst things that you can do on your recovery days is to be a couch potato. When we workout, our body produces byproducts like lactic acid, pyruvate, and NADH+. These byproducts pool up and cause our muscles to be sluggish, slow and sore. In order for our body to get rid of these byproducts, it requires blood flow to carry them out of our muscles. A blood flow elevated above resting will help to drain these byproducts from our muscles and speed up recovery.

Tips for moving during a recovery day:

  • Go for a light jog/walk
    • Just get your heart rate up, don’t push it
  • Foam roll
    • Spend 20-30 seconds on each of the major muscles
    • Glutes/Hamstrings/Calves/Quads
    • Lats/Upper back/Pecs
  • Lacrosse ball
    • Spend some time isolating specific knots or trigger points
    • Place the lacrosse ball on the knot and slowly grind into it
  • Stretch
    • Stretch the major muscles. If you neglect mobility, over time you will develop pain and injuries because the muscles aren’t functioning the way they should.
    • Spend 20-30 seconds on each muscle
    • Dynamic stretching combined with a light jog/walk is a great combo
    • Try this 5 minute mobility routine

Eat right

Proper fuel is absolutely essential for competitive athletes. In order for our bodies to function properly at competition, they need fuel. Not only do they need fuel, they need the right fuel. Think of your body like a car. You could fill your car up with bleach and it would run … but not for long. If you’re filling your body up with junk food and missing out on the right nutrients, your body won’t perform the way you want it to for very long.

Tips for improving your nutrition:

Sleep

One of the biggest factors that significantly influences your body’s performance is sleep. Proper sleep has been shown to increase performance, motivation, concentration, and improve cognitive performance. While we are sleeping, our bodies go to work. During sleep, your body increases the hormone productions that lead to rebuilding muscles, increasing the tensile strength of your actin and myosin within the muscle fibers. It is recommended for athletes to get anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you are in the middle of pre-season or heavy training times, an extra hour is typically recommended. If you can’t manage to get that much sleep at night, naps can be a way to add up to that sleep total.

Tips for getting good sleep:

  • Get in a rhythm and stick to it! Plan ahead, finish homework/work in time that you can get to bed at a consistent time
  • Avoid being on your phone in bed, the stimulus will fight your body wanting to sleep
  • Avoid caffeine in the second half of the day

Make goals

The process of setting goals for yourself will help you structure your plan to achieve those goals. During this process make sure that you structure in your recovery. Keeping to a schedule will keep you motivated and you will see significant results. Follow the strategy of SMART (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Results. Time.) goals. By creating goals that you can attain in a realistic amount of time, your schedule will practically create itself.

Tips for making goals:

  • Follow the SMART goals
  • Don’t over-do it. Setting a goal that you can’t attain will crush your motivation if you don’t achieve that goal. Be realistic.
  • Stick to your schedule. You created it for a reason.

Simple Nutrition Guide to Launch into a Healthy Lifestyle

A sound nutrition plan is all about energy balance. This is the relationship between calories in and calories out. Other key factors that contribute to launching a healthy lifestyle include macro and micro nutrients. These play a key role in your metabolism and hormones which contributes to how your body processes food for energy. This nutrition guide will help you launch into a healthy lifestyle whether your looking to lose weight, increase lean body mass, or just looking to improve your eating habits.

Purpose of Each Nutrient

  • Carbohydrates for energy, cognitive function at work, primary fuel source, transports protein
  • Fat for anti-inflammation, cell structure, brain development and nerve function
  • Protein for recovery and repair of muscle tissue and cells, meal satiety
    • Distribution/Timing of protein throughout the day is essential.
  • Fiber for healthy digestive system, positive mood, efficient metabolism
  • Establish balance with proper caloric deficit to have fueling that supports energy needed for workouts while making progress towards body composition

Hydration

  • Proper hydration is critical for energy, nutrient absorption/digestion and mental clarity
  • ~1 cup of fluids 15-20 minutes before exercise
  • ~1 cup every 15-20 minutes during exercise

Identify Your Energy Needs

Breakfast Example

  • 2 different servings of fruit.
    • For example – 1 whole orange and 1 cup raspberries. It must be fresh or frozen.
  • With 1/4 cup raw walnuts or 20 raw almonds.
  • Plus 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt or 1/3 cup chickpeas or ½ cup quinoa.
  • Drink 16 oz. of water or hot or iced tea or coffee.

Lunch Example

  • Prepare a large salad with variety of veggies (aim for minimum of 3 different colors)
    • (Combining bag salads works well. Be sure to include a dark green)
  • Top with ¼ cup chopped walnuts, or 20 almonds or ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Rebuild lean muscle w/ 1/3 cup beans (pinto, kidney, chickpea, black (rinse if canned)).
  • Add 1 apple, diced with skin (or 1 serving any other fruit.)
  • Have with 1 tablespoon of any salad dressing that you like – vinegar and olive oil or salsa are two options. Drink water or alternative beverage such as tea.

MOVE today!

  • Get as much exercise as you can, preferably 1 hour of movement–walking, swimming, stationary bike, etc.

*If you get snackie during the afternoon, have 1 serving fresh fruit or more veggies.

Dinner Example

  • Prepare stir fried vegetables (minimum of 3 colors and use a little olive oil)
  • Top with ¼ cup sliced almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds
  • Power up with protein from 1/3 cup beans, rinsed (red, pinto, kidney, black.)
  • Flavor the stir fry with fresh herbs and spices or spice mixes.

PM Snack

  • Thaw ¾ cup berries and drizzle 1 small square melted dark chocolate on top.
  • Key is having casein protein: cottage cheese, frozen Greek yogurt, protein shake, milk

Meal Guide

  • Breakfast – Pick from each category:
    • Energizing carb: black beans – whole wheat toast – sweet potato hash – oatmeal
    • Lean protein: Greek yogurt – eggs – hemp seeds – turkey – protein powder
    • Antioxidant fruits: blackberries – strawberries – blueberries – pineapple
  • Lunch – Pick from each category:
    • Lean meat: chicken – ground turkey – white fish
    • Complex carb: quinoa – brown rice – sweet potato – whole wheat pasta – WG bread
    • Vegetable: asparagus – broccoli – peppers – zucchini/squash – kale – and many more!
  • Dinner – Pick from each category:
    • Lean meat (5-6 days/wk): chicken – ground turkey – white fish
    • High fat (omega) meat (1-2 days/wk): salmon – quality steak – tuna

Foods Supporting Digestive Health

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Kiwi
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Kombucha or other fermented food (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir)

Anti-Inflamtory Foods

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Walnuts
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Tumeric
  • Tart Cherry concentrate

Foods that Boost Fat Metabolism

  • Red grapefruit
  • Coffee (black)
  • Lentils
  • Water
  • Whole grains high in B vitamins

Foods that Increase Endurance

  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Arugula
  • Celery
  • Potato starch

Foods that Support Immune Function

  • Tomatoes
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Citrus (oranges, lemons)
  • Yogurt
  • Green tea
  • Ginger

How to Grocery Shop with Better Health in Mind

How to Grocery Shop with Better Health in Mind

Are you kicking off 2018 with healthy goals? Meal prep and a balanced diet are both influenced by what you get at the grocery store. By going into the store with a healthy mindset and a strategic plan, you will set yourself up for success to reach your goals. Grocery shopping has gotten a lot more complex. To help you make the right choices, we have put together a specific food list that will help you navigate the grocery store effectively, efficiently, and leave feeling confident that you have healthy food options in your cart.

Check out the list we have put together to make your next trip to the grocery store a healthier one with the essential foods and nutrients your body needs!

Vegetable and Fruit Aisle 

You cannot go wrong with fruits and vegetables. Throw anything that appeals to you into the cart. More color variety = the more antioxidants and nutrients you’ll get. **DENOTES HIGH QUALITY NUTRIENTS**

FRUIT

RED

□ Apples**

□ Strawberries**

□ Cherries**

□ Watermelon**

YELLOW/ORANGE

□ Bananas**

□ Oranges**

□ Pineapple**

GREEN

□ Kiwi**

BLUE/PURPLE

□ Berries**

□ Red grapes

□ Figs and Dates**

VEGETABLES

RED

□ Red bell peppers**

□ Tomatoes

YELLOW/ORANGE

□ Baby carrots**

□ Sweet potatoes** (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Corn (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Squash**(starchy carbohydrate)

GREEN

□ Avocado**

□ Broccoli**

□ Spinach, Kale, Power greens**

□ Green Beans**

□ Brussel Sprouts

□ Zucchini**

BLUE/PURPLE

□ Beets**

□ Eggplant**

WHITE

□ Diced garlic or fresh garlic

□ Coleslaw mix

□ Onions

□ Portobello mushrooms**

Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Deli Counters 

□ Turkey or chicken breast**

□ Deli turkey or lean ham

□ Ground turkey, chicken, lean beef**

□ Frozen salmon patties (wild Alaskan)**

□ Frozen seafood fillets (halibut, salmon, mahi mahi, tilapia, etc)

□ Grilled chicken strips

□ Lean beef or pork cubes for stir-frying

Snack Aisle 

□ Almonds

□ Dark chocolate

□ Dried fruit (no added sugar, unsweetened)

□ Graham crackers

□ High-fiber, high protein granola bars (minimum 10 g protein, under 30 g carbohydrates)

□ Pistachios

□ Pretzels

□ Reduced-fat microwaveable popcorn

□ Salsa

□ Seeds (pumpkin, chia, sesame)**

□ Walnuts

□ Whole-grain baked crackers

Baking Aisle 

Herbs and spices—if you are an avid cook: keep a larger collection, but if you do not cook much, at least get:

◦ Black pepper

◦ Salt

◦ Garlic powder

◦ Cinnamon

◦ Chili powder

◦ Italian seasoning

◦ Pre-made spice blend that appeals to you (lemon pepper, montreal steak, Caribbean jerk, etc)

□ Nonstick cooking spray

□ Ground Flaxseed

□ Olive oil

□ Maple syrup

□ Vinegar (try apple cider, balsamic or red-wine vinegar)

□ Whole-wheat flour / Almond flour / Coconut flour

Beverage Aisle 

□ Carbonated water (LaCroix)

□ Coconut water

□ Tea

Condiment Aisle 

□ Oil based salad dressings

□ Low-sodium soy sauce

□ Hot sauce RECOVER. PREVENT. OPTIMIZE. VIVERANT.COM

◦ Black beans

◦ Cannellini beans

◦ Chickpeas

◦ Kidney beans

◦ Your favorite bean

Grain/Starchy Vegetable Aisle 

□ Ancient grain (amaranth, buckwheat, millet, farro)**

□ Barley**

□ Brown rice**

□ Lentils**

□ Quinoa**

□ Whole Wheat pasta

□ Steel Cut oats**

□ Whole-grain cereal (contain at least 3-4 grams of fiber)

□ Whole-wheat bread, English muffins or sandwich thins **

Canned Food Aisles 

□ Beans:**

□ Canned chicken or packets of salmon** and/or tuna**

□ Low-sodium spaghetti sauce

□ Olives

□ Peanut butter/Almond Butter

□ Stewed tomatoes

Frozen Food Aisles 

□ Berries

□ Peas (starchy carbohydrate)

□ Black-bean burgers

□ Chicken breasts

□ Turkey burgers

□ Vegetables (steam able broccoli, California blend)

□ Whole-grain waffles (Van’s power grain)

Dairy Case 

□ Eggs**

□ Feta cheese

□ Plain Greek yogurt**

□ Milk (skim or 1%)**

□ Whipped Neufchâtel cheese

□ Parmesan cheese

□ Mozzarella Part-Skim*

□ 2% cottage cheese**


How to Navigate the Holiday Seasons While Staying Healthy

How to Navigate the Holiday Seasons While Staying Healthy

Successfully getting through the holidays requires more than just knowing what healthy food looks like, it is the mindfulness and establishing a behavior change when at social events and food gatherings. Slow down with eating, savor your food, enjoy the moment of the holiday events and not just focusing on the food.

  • Breathe between bites of food
  • Pay attention to physical hunger cues vs emotional eating or mindless eating
  • Set your fork down in between eating
  • Use a smaller appetizer plate, you can always grab seconds but don’t to overload a large dinner plate
  • Bake holiday treats year round not “last chance eating” and overeating a “one time food”
  • Eat what you love, leave what you like
  • Alternate your bubbly cocktails w/ sparkling water
  • Be a snack smuggler – keep appetite in check and nourish your body rather than letting blood sugar drop and grabbing fast food

Social Gatherings

Holidays are much more than 100% food. Consider all the other aspects that make the holidays special and unique and go into the various events emphasizing those factors and not just thinking about food and what you will eat. Challenge yourself to do two non food related tasks before starting in on food.

  • Go to social gatherings to gather, not to eat
  • Keep plate at table and socialize without a plate in your hand (prevents mindless eating)
  • Hang out with family and friends in a living room or alternative space instead of chatting around food
  • Eat mindfully = three bites and goodnight
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy your indulgences guilt free

10 Healthy Cooking Alternatives

    1. Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 g of fat per cup.
    2. Mashed potatoes – swap out for cauliflower
    3. Stuffing — Use less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries, apples or pears.
    4. Sweet potatoes – add in other vegetables for more color & nutrients such as butternut squash, beets, brussel sprouts
    5. Green bean casserole – use a skim milk with Greek yogurt for a creamy, but lower calorie alternative
    6. Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 g of saturated fat per 3 oz serving
    7. Ham – opt for nitrite free ham and keep your portion in check to reduce excess sodium
    8. Pumpkin pie – substitute with plain Greek yogurt and flaxseed = increased protein and 100 calories less per slice
    9. Cherry pie – use fresh fruit instead of “pie filling” and for the crust – whole wheat flour + ground flaxseed
    10. Cookies – use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil

GARLIC MASHED CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower whole head, separated into florets
  • 1 garlic whole bulb
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons thyme fresh chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice about 1/4″ from the head of garlic and drizzle olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and roast for 40-50 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and cool until you can handle it.
  3. Meanwhile, set a vegetable steamer into a pot or saucepan with a lid. Add an inch of water to the pot and fill the steamer basket with the cauliflower florets. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Cook cauliflower until very tender (so that when you pierce it with a knife it goes in and comes out easily without catching), about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Squeeze the individual cloves of roasted garlic into the cauliflower. Add the thyme and secure the lid on the food processor. Pulse the cauliflower mixture until there are no lumps and it’s smooth like mashed potatoes. This may take a few minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

APPLE AND SQUASH STUFFING

Ingredients

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups Gala apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Optional – 4 slices pancetta, about 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) thick, diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 cups cubed stale bread loaf without the crust
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Butter a large 33 x 23-cm (13 x 9-inch) baking dish or with a capacity of at least 12 cups.

In a large and deep non-stick skillet or a large saucepan, sauté the squash, onions, celery, apples, and garlic in half the oil for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.

In the same skillet, brown the ground meat (and pancetta if using) in the remaining oil. Add the mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the vegetables and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and spoon into the baking dish. Bake the stuffing in the oven during the last 30 minutes of cooking the turkey, on the bottom rack. While the turkey is resting, increase the oven’s temperature to 350 °F and bake the stuffing for another 30 minutes or until it is firm and golden brown.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • mushroom sauce (see below)
  • crispy onion topping (see below)

CRISPY ONION TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

MUSHROOM SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 8 ounces white button or baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (or cornstarch, if gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (not packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

TO MAKE THE CASSEROLE:

Begin by preparing the onion topping.  Then make the mushroom sauce.

While those are cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Add the green beans and boil for 3-5 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.  (I like mine cooked but still slightly crispy.)  Drain the green beans, then transfer them to the bowl of ice water and stir them in.  This will stop them from cooking more.

When the mushroom sauce is ready, transfer the green beans into the pan with the sauce and toss until combined.  Pour the green bean mixture into a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray.  Then sprinkle the onion topping evenly on top.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Serve warm.

TO MAKE THE CRISPY ONION TOPPING:

Heat half of the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until melted.  (Or if using olive oil, heat until it is shimmering.)  Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and starting to brown around the edges.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a separate mixing bowl.

Add the remaining half tablespoon of butter (or oil) to the pan and heat until melted.  Add in the Panko breadcrumbs and stir until combined.  Cook, stirring once every 30 seconds or so, for about 3-5 minutes until the Panko is toasted and lightly golden.  Remove from heat and transfer the Panko to the bowl with the onions.  Stir in the Parmesan and salt, and toss the mixture until combined.  Set aside.

TO MAKE THE MUSHROOM SAUCE:

In the same saute pan that you used to cook the onion and Panko, heat butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until melted.  (Or if using olive oil, heat until it is shimmering.)  Add mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes until they are soft and cooked, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese is melted. Reduce heat to low until the sauce is ready to be tossed with the green beans.

(*If the sauce seems too thick, you can add in an extra 1/2 cup of milk.  If the sauce is too thin, you can add in an extra 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.)

 

HEALTHIER PUMPKIN PIE

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 (13.5oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • pinch pure stevia, or 2 tbsp extra brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Blend all ingredients together until smooth, then pour into a prepared pie crust (such as the recipe below) in a 10-inch round pan. Bake 27 minutes (it will still be underdone after this time, which is okay!), let it cool, then refrigerate at least 5 hours uncovered for the pie to thicken and “set.” Note: Feel free to experiment with other milks, I can’t vouch for the results but that is an option.

Crust Recipe:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup xylitol or sugar of choice
1/2 cup avocado oil or coconut oil
2-4 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 200°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add oil and stir. Add water as needed until it just sticks together but is not gummy. Press evenly into a 10-inch pie pan. Put the crust in the oven and immediately increase the temperature to 350°F. (The crust will rise, so either use pie weights during baking or just press the pie crust back down afterwards.) Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.

GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup + 6 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla crème stevia

Instructions

  • To prepare the cookies, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in the molasses and vanilla crème stevia. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the center of a large sheet of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1”-tall rectangle. Cover the top with another large sheet of plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • Leaving the cookie dough between the sheets of plastic wrap, roll it out until ⅛” thick. Lightly flour your cookie cutter, and press it into the dough, making sure each shape lies as close to its neighbors as possible to minimize unused dough. Peel the unused dough away from the shapes, and place them onto the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll the unused dough, and repeat.
  • Bake the cut out cookie dough at 325°F for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

SUGAR COOKIES (Grain-free, gluten free and refined sugar free!)

Ingredients

Wet

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • optional: food coloring

Dry

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt

For the Icing

  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 drops pink/red food coloring

Toppings

  • Sprinkles
  • Edible Glitter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, almond extract, and honey. Then, add in melted coconut oil and whisk again.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet until your dough is formed. Use a wooden spoon at first and then switch to using your hands. The dough may seem crumbly at first, but continue to knead dough together until it forms a ball.
  5. At this point, you can add your food coloring. We suggest starting off with just a few drops and kneading the food coloring into the dough. You can also make multiple colors of dough by separating in half or thirds.
  6. Create a ball with your dough and wrap with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  7. Once the dough has cooled. Remove from fridge and sprinkle coconut flour onto a hard, cool surface as well as your rolling pin. Then, use rolling pin to roll out the dough so that it’s around 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch thick. If it’s sticking, sprinkle on some more coconut flour.
  8. Use small/medium cookie cutters to create sugar cookie cut outs. Place shapes onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Don’t worry about spacing too much, the cookies will not expand that much.
  9. Bake at 350ºF for 6-8 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. They cook fast, so be careful!
  10. Immediately remove from hot pan and place on cookie rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting.
  11. For the icing: add water to powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time and mix. Add enough water, until you’ve reached your desired thickness. If you want to color your frosting, add a few drops of whatever color you desire. Then, transfer into a piping bag (or plastic bag) and frost away!
  12. Frost cookies with icing and then decorate with sprinkles and edible glitter.

INTERESTED IN MORE HEALTHY TWISTS ON CHRISTMAS COOKIES?

Check out: https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/healthy-christmas-cookie-recipes/


5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Holiday Food Eating Facts

  • It is easy for holiday eating to turn into holiday OVER-eating.
  • We gain 1-2 pounds during this time and don’t lose it come January.
  • Research also shows those who are already overweight gain an average of 5 holiday pounds that don’t come back off and add up year after year.

Tip #1: Don’t Skip Meals

  • Don’t attempt to restrict intake leading up to the holidays…this will only make you more likely to overeat once the holiday meals come.
  • Practice well-balanced and healthful eating leading up to the holidays, including adequate fruits, vegetable, lean proteins, high fiber foods and whole grains.

Tip #2: Avoid Overeating…Moderation is key!

  • Enjoy, Stop, Think
  • Smaller plate, smaller portions
  • Drink water throughout the day, dehydration can be mistaken for hunger
  • It IS possible to have too much of a good thing
  • Balance portions on your plate
  • Moderation applies with dessert too – One whole piece of your favorite  dessert, or two half-sized pieces if you can’t decide

Tip #3: Veggies First

  • First fill your plate with vegetable and salad options before adding the entrees and desserts to the plate.
  • ↑ vegetables + ↓ entrees & desserts = ↓ calories, ↑ fullness, satisfaction, nutrients

Tip #4: Play Your Part

  • Bringing a dish? Make it a healthy option!
  • Sides: Fruit or vegetable tray, salad, roasted vegetables
  • Entrée: Lean meat, whole grain pasta, beans

Tip #5: Stay Active


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