‘Healthy Living’ Category

  1. Health Dynamo or Demon: Coffee Myth Busting

    February 27, 2017 by Heather

    fee Myth Busting

    Today I want to do some myth busting on coffee!!  I know so many of you love it and wonder if it’s good for you!

    So much of the health media promotes extreme viewpoints that leave you thoroughly confused. Depending on where you get your data, vegetarianism is either touted as the best or the worst dietary solution for obesity. Soy either directly causes breast cancer or definitively prevents it. Oatmeal reduces risk of heart disease or directly contributes to it. Of course, sensationalism sells. And many sources (especially on-line) are just based on opinion and personal experience. But especially when these headlines are touting sound biochemistry (and perhaps clinical study results as well) to back up their claims, it makes you wonder how and why scientific inquiry comes up so often with opposed findings.

    The truth is that the correct answer to the question often asked of me, “Is this healthy or not?” is almost always “Well, it depends.” Unfortunately we like generalizations; we want to have a short list of healthy choices that everyone can follow without further inquiry. The truth is that nothing is healthy for everyone all the time. Some people thrive as vegetarians; others become exhausted and anemic. Oatmeal helps some to lose weight; others become insulin resistant and gain more belly fat. Yogurt for some can help to heal an irritable gut; for others, it directly causes inflammation. We are all different. In my practice, the focus in our client work is on customizing solutions for each unique person given their goals and the full set of dynamics happening in their body. So yes: coffee is indeed a health dynamo for some and a demon for others.

    Here are some truths. Coffee is a beverage brewed from the roasted, ground seeds of the coffea plant. Coffee is loaded with a rich variety of phytonutrients, including a particularly high level of polyphenols, the same class of antioxidants for which we trumpet the cardiovascular health benefits of red wine and olive oil. Much of the world’s population gets well over half of their daily intake of polyphenols from coffee or tea (another study write-up). There are however, hundreds of specific nutrients in coffee (not just polyphenols and caffeine), and people may have a varying response to them.

    Plenty of major institutions have published comprehensive research summaries (e.g. this one from Harvard’s School of Public Health, which is quite well-written) to demonstrate that “generally”, “overall”, or “for the majority of the population”, coffee consumption up to a few cups daily is safe and perhaps even protective against a number of chronic, inflammatory diseases.

    A situation in which I am likely to actually recommend coffee is for those with cognitive impairment, including dementia and early signs of Alzheimers.

    Genes can play a large role in determining how coffee might affect you. Coffee contains caffeine, and the stimulatory effects of coffee can vary dramatically depending on whether one is genetically a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine. For example, research shows an increased risk of heart attack if slow metabolizers consume two or more cups of coffee daily, while fast caffeine metabolizers will reduce their risk of heart attack if they consume at least one cup daily. Similar studies have come to the same conclusion regarding coffee consumption and the risk of hypertension; genetic variation in caffeine metabolism is a key differentiator in whether intake is potentially harmful or harmless. That’s not conflicting science; it’s the devil in the detail. Increasingly, interested consumers are able to learn a bit more about their genetic make-up via at-home test kits such as that offered by 23-and-me.

    But there can be devil in the detail – and thus confusion about the best personal health choices – on many other fronts. Here are some specific circumstances in which I definitely don’t recommend regular intake of coffee (or black tea):

    Ulcers and gastritis or acid reflux (GERD). Coffee is very acidic and can exacerbate existing erosions in the protective mucosal lining of the stomach. It’s important to make dramatic dietary changes when gastritis is first detected, in order to prevent eventual ulceration. I recommend a very specific supplement for my clients in order to heal the stomach lining. Coffee is also a known trigger for acid reflux and should be avoided by anyone with ongoing GERD challenges, so that the true root causes can be identified. We have also seen several clients eliminate 80%+ of their GERD simply by giving up coffee! So definitely worth the exploration.

    Adrenal fatigue. Cortisol is a vital stress hormone in the body which protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Chronic levels of mental/emotional stress or physiological stress (e.g. unaddressed allergies or food sensitivities) can cause sustained, elevated cortisol which eventually wears out adrenal function and drops levels of cortisol output to unhealthy lows. Low cortisol can also cause immune system imbalance and increase allergy, asthma, and autoimmune activation. While these individuals may be attracted to caffeine as an “energy boost”, in truth coffee just accelerates the metabolism of cortisol and worsens the root cause of the problem. We also need adequate cortisol in order to allow thryoid hormone to be active within our cells (as an aside, low cortisol is one of the major reasons why one’s thyroid hormone levels can be mid-normal or better and one can still struggle with hypothyroid symptoms).

    Type 2 diabetics. Similar to the above situation, T2Ds may be drawn to coffee for an energy boost because insulin resistance prevents their body from receiving the appropriate fuel source within their cells. Plus there is evidence that coffee or caffeinated beverages exacerbate blood sugar after meals, especially for those with poorly-controlled diabetes. Until the insulin resistance can be addressed at its root, these clients usually get much better relief by adding more medium chain fatty acids (MCFA – likely coconut oil) to their diet. MCFAs are readily metabolized in the cells, unlike other fats, when there is insulin resistance.

    Insomnia – even mild. Despite myths otherwise, the stimulating effects of caffeine can be quite long-lasting. The half-life of caffeine in the body is up to 6 hours, which means it takes up to 24 hours for it to be fully excreted from your body. This means that your late morning cup of coffee can be a major reason why you struggle to go to bed early enough or why you don’t sleep as deeply as you wish. Many of my clients over the years have been surprised to learn that even their single, early-morning cup of coffee was actually a major contributor to poor sleep.

    Anxiety. This one is probably obvious, but many people who struggle with anxiety still choose to consume caffeine to counter the fatigue coming from anxiety-driven insomnia. This is of course a vicious, never-ending cycle, and in our experience the only way out – to real wellness – is withdrawing from the caffeine.

    Indeed the devil and the dynamos for wellness are often hidden in the details for each of us as unique individuals! As you look for new ways to increase your vitality and well-being (feeling fantastic most days!), if you are used to drinking coffee daily, consider stopping coffee for a full month and seeing how you feel post-withdrawal. Many are afraid of withdrawal, but in my practice, with adequate hydration and additional magnesium support, withdrawal usually only lasts 3-5 days.

    I’d love to hear about your coffee experience!  Feel free to comment below or reach out to me to chat personally or to set up a consult!


  2. Going Gluten Free!

    September 12, 2016 by Heather

    going

    Have you just found out you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity or celiac disease and you have no clue where to start?  The majority of my clients are those with auto-immune dynamics for which I recommend a gluten free diet, 100% cold-turkey, no excuses.  You see, those with an auto-immune disease have intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut), which, in most cases was one of the exacerbating causes of that dynamic.  Gluten, along with being inflammatory for most, will exacerbate intestinal permeability in those with auto-immune diseases.  How you ask?

    Gluten is implicated in intestinal permeability especially in those with auto-immune because it triggers a protein called zonulin.  Zonulin as a substance is natural in the human body. It promotes an opening up of spaces in the villi in the intestines and is triggered on purpose. Zonulin is one of the bodies heavy duty immune response activities which should be limited to cases of virulent infection.  It is the bodies strategy to create more intestinal permeability so the bodies immune soldiers can come to the scene of the infection and help to wipe it out.  When zonulin is triggered when say someone eats wheat bread, then the process becomes inappropriate. 

    Ok so your eyes might be glazing over about now, right?!  No worries!  Just know that gluten is no good for you and you should remove it!  😉 Of course, there are many other things I do with my clients to help get to the root causes of why they got the auto-immune dynamic in the first place, heal their intestinal permeability, get them feeling their best etc.  Did you know that if you don’t get to the root causes of why you got the first auto-immune disease you are 6x more likely to get a second and third auto-immune disease?! But I digress…..  The point of this blog post is to give you some ideas on how to eat gluten free.  Here goes!!!

    Gluten-free foods:

    • Potatoes
    • Buckwheat
    • Oats (*must be labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination)
    • Corn/ maize (some people with gluten issues have a cross-reactivity to corn-always buy non-GMO)
    • Rice
    • Quinoa
    • Amaranth
    • Teff
    • Millet
    • Beans
    • Nuts and nut butters
    • Eggs
    • Fresh fruit
    • Fresh vegetables
    • Herbs and spices
    • Meats and fish purchased without sauce or seasonings
    • Home-made soups (avoid bouillon cubes, barley malt, and all types of pasta)
    • Juice (all-natural, 100% fruit juice)

    Foods to avoid:

    • Wheat
    • Kamut
    • Spelt
    • Rye
    • Barley
    • Oats are generally avoided because they are almost always processed in mills that process grains containing gluten
    • Modified food starch
    • Barley enzymes (found in majority of breakfast cereals), soy sauce, and distilled vinegar (malt vinegar)

    Tips for avoiding contamination:

    • Clean out cutlery drawers; they are great crumb collectors
    • Replace old wooden spoons and cutting boards
    • Wash dish rags/sponges frequently
    • Use a new toaster for gluten-free foods only or buy toaster bags (do not use a toaster that’s already been used to toast regular bread)
    • Use squirt bottles for condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, jelly, etc. to avoid contamination
    • Mark containers with “GF” on the lid of gluten-free items.
    • Clean food prep areas
    • Dedicate shelves and cabinets in your kitchen and refrigerator to “gluten-free food only”

    Recipes:

    Gluten-Free Flour Mix (All-Purpose)

    (Makes 12 cups)

    8 cups rice flour (preferably brown)
    2 2/3 cups potato starch
    1 1/3 cups tapioca flour

    Gluten-Free Flour Mix (Light)

    (Makes 12 cups)

    4 cups rice flour
    4 cups tapioca flour
    4 cups cornstarch
    4 tablespoons potato flour

    There is an awesome recipe on this site for gluten free bread that doesn’t taste like cardboard!!  Just type gluten free bread in the search bar and it should come up. 

    If you’d like help on getting to the bottom of why you are suffering, I would love to be a part of your journey.  I help those with Fibro, CFS, auto-immune, diabetes etc. get to the root causes of why they became ill and wipe them out.  If you are interested in feeling your best, set up a consult with me today!  It is your destiny to live your best self!!!

    If you have any great gluten free recipes you’d love to share feel free to post them in the comments or email them to me!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     


  3. Purple Poison

    August 10, 2016 by Heather

    Purple Poison This little purple pill looks so innocent doesn’t it?  Let’s have a little chat about why it isn’t so innocent. 

    I have written before about the importance of getting to the root causes of anything you are struggling with.  Getting to the root cause of your acid reflux is no exception.  And PPI’s are not the answer.

    Many of today’s most popular (and profitable) drugs are designed to mask chronic symptoms without providing any real healing. They keep us from feeling the effects of our lifestyle choices. They keep us from hearing the signals from our body that something is wrong. Symptoms are a blessings my friends.  Think of them as a warning signal. 

    Nearly all drugs are designed for temporary use to provide temporary relief.  PPI’s are no exception.  In fact, that’s what the FDA originally approved proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to do: provide temporary relief to those with ulcers. They were designed to be used for several weeks at most. Why? Because long-term use of PPIs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Protonix can deplete your body of critical nutrients and lead to a wide variety of diseases. 

    Many of us have insufficient HCl (stomach acid).  This is called hypochlorhydria.  HCl is required to isolate key minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc for absorption as well as for breaking down proteins.  Strong stomach acid is also particularly necessary to allow the body to absorb Vitamin B12, a critical nutrient for energy, nerve function, and red blood cell formation. If we have insufficient HCl, we can consume plenty of healthy food yet still become malnourished over time because of poor digestion. All our hard work, right out the window!  Insufficient stomach acid can result from a variety of dynamics, including adrenal issues, dybiosis, Candida, hypothyroidism, H. pylori, age, and medications.  Medications include, you guessed it, PPI’s!!!

    PPI’s reduce the amount of HCl our stomachs can produce. When PPI’s are used for acid reflux they make gastric juices less acidic, so it isn’t as painful or damaging when the juice bubbles up into our esophagus.  Without getting into a lengthy physiology review, the stomach is a critical part of our digestive tract. It is lined with parietal cells which are responsible for secreting hydrochloric acid (HCl) via tiny proton pumps. When you chew food (or sometimes even just smell it), parietal cells are triggered to release this acid. In an optimally healthy body, we secrete strong amounts of stomach acid.  However, if you are using PPI’s, those PPIs attach to the tiny proton pumps in our parietal cells and stop the flow of acid. Thus, our gastric juices become less acidic and less effective affecting our ability to absorb nutrients. For short-term use, this can be a wonderful thing for triage. For example, if you had an ulcer or a short-term bout of acute stress that gave you gastritis. Ulcers are lesions in the stomach wall, and they need short-term relief from acid in order to heal.  However, long-term healing and prevention of both ulcers and acid reflux requires lifestyle change.  Studies have shown that long-term use of PPIs may make you dangerously deficient in key nutrients.  Recent clinical research findings point in particular to the danger of B12 deficiency in those using PPIs on an ongoing basis.

    As stated above, PPI’s deplete the body of magnesium. In fact, there is now a black box warning by the FDA on the package about PPI’s and their role in depleting magnesium!!  In 2010, the FDA issued a warning of the increased risk of wrist, hip, and spine fractures with high-dose or long-term PPI use.  Very recent research has also identified another method by which ongoing PPI might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the protective, inner lining of our blood vessels.

    If that weren’t enough reason to steer clear of these not so innocent pills, here is another.  Powerful stomach acid is crucial for our bodies defense against microbes, including dangerous bacteria, fungus/yeast, and parasites.  Without it, we are vulnerable to foreign invasion. Microbial imbalances often cause gastrointestinal disease (e.g. IBS), but the inflammation generated in the gut can wreak havoc on the body in places far distant from the gut (e.g. arthritis).  Remember, disease begins in the gut!!

    Along with B12 and the minerals stated above, there are many more key nutrients that are dependent on strong stomach acid to be absorbed.  I won’t go into them all here but deficiency of these nutrients create downstream effects that create further disease processes in the body. 

    The unfortunate thing is the drug companies have found a way to make us dependent on these PPI’s.  A study in 2009 showed people were likely to remain on PPIs indefinitely because drug withdrawal caused even worse heartburn than the patient experienced initially.  This continues to amaze me, that a drug company would profit from someone’s suffering.  Repeat after me…the only long-term solution for relief is lifestyle change and getting to the root cause of the problem! 

    I specifically work with my clients on getting to the root causes of why they are suffering.  This includes weaning off medications if they so choose.  Everyone’s journey is different but I would be remiss if I did not educate on the real dangers of the use of these seemingly innocent pills.  Please remember that weaning off any medication is crucial and should be done under a qualified practitioner’s care. 

    I’d love to hear your story if you have used PPI’s and your experience with them.  Feel free to share below or send me a message!

    Peace & Health,

    Heather


  4. Don’t Give Up!

    July 16, 2016 by Heather

    fitwithfibro.com

    I received a message this morning from a client that was so excited she lost 15 pounds, even after being on vacation! This was huge for this particular client because she has been having difficulty losing weight due to the inflammation in her body.  I know her internal struggle.  I’ve been there for the tears.  This made my morning. When we are very inflamed, weight loss, will be the last thing to go as a result of addressing the inflammation.  I know sometimes this is hard to hear. 

    It occurred to me after receiving that message that often, as practitioners, our clients journeys closely mirror our own.  There are no accidents.  This message today started me thinking about my own journey and how it mirrors hers since moving to New Mexico.  If you read my last blog post you know the story of my stressed out existence prior to my big move here.  Soon after I moved, I started putting on weight and couldn’t figure out why.  Sometimes, as a health coach, it is hard to be objective with yourself.  It is not as easy to unravel your own puzzle than it is to unravel a clients.  Let’s look at the onion and peel its layers back.  I was in an abusive relationship, lived in another stressful situation when I left that abusive relationship, moved twice (one across the country), went of birth control pills, increased my thyroid meds and stopped my antibiotics for the Lyme.  My poor adrenals!  My confused body did not know what end was up. I know what I would say to client.  Not so easy to have that talk with yourself.  I’m patient with my clients.  I meet them where they are at.  So very hard to do when it is you.

    I can see how my clients can get frustrated.  I’ve been in this situation before myself.  Why work out and eat right when I continue to put on weight, or at least am not able to lose it?  This is the mentality that lurks in the back of my head.  And I’m sure it lurks in the back of my clients heads.  And for those of you that know my story, weight gain for a person with a history of eating disorders is equally devastating. 

    But I continued on, doing my daily workouts and eating clean, confident that I would unravel the mystery.  Thank goodness for my boyfriend that didn’t throw me out of the house!  😉  Sometimes, as practitioners, we need to step outside of our own demons to see the bigger picture.  Sometimes our clients that are going through similar things help us to do that.  At this point, I’m pretty confident I’m on the right track and have answers with the help of some recent labs.  This morning I went for a run and was faster and less tired than I was last week, validation that what I’m doing is working, maybe just not as fast as I’d like.  Hey I’m human! 

    I know sometimes it would be easier to throw in the towel, to sit on the couch with a bag of pretzels.  Trust me, it was tempting.  But if I hadn’t continued to move, if I hadn’t continued to eat clean then I would be worse off than I am.  It is so easy to keep going when you are seeing forward progress.  It can be so frustrating when you are working hard and not seeing the results you’d like.  But once your body catches up and once you address the issues that are causing your body to hang onto the weight and inches, you WILL see the results and all the efforts of clean eating and exercise will have paid off. 

    If you’d like help getting to the root causes of why you are stuck, I’d love to help.  I know my journey has been helpful to many of my clients but their journey’s have equally blessed me in helping my own self to heal. 

    I’d love to hear your story.  Feel free to send me a message or share in the comments below!

     

    Peace & Love!

    Heather


  5. Step into your power!

    May 25, 2016 by Heather

    Step into your power...

     

    I registered for a health coaching retreat today and I cried.  It was one of those ugly cries.  I cried because it’s been a long journey to get to this point of stepping into my power.  Someone told me a few weeks ago that my story may inspire someone to step into their own.  So I hope parts of my story resonate with you and that maybe you can share it with someone that might also be moved by it.

    You may ask what this has to do with Fibro or chronic illness or healthy living.  It does because our emotional wellness is so very much connected to our physical being.  And for a very long time I fought an uphill battle trying to balance the two.  Until I met this wonderful man that showed me how it is supposed to be.  The reasons why I am where I am today is because I knew I deserved better and I hope that if you’re in the situation I found myself in that you too realize the very same thing.  Everyone woman deserves to be treated like a queen.  I truly believe that.  But, we, as chronic illness warriors, need and deserve someone that will love and support us even on our toughest days.  I know that that person is not easy to find.  In fact, it took me this long to find him. But I implore you not to give up and not to settle for any less than you deserve.

    Let me back up and tell you a little about my story so that you understand.  In 2008 I was married to a man that seemed to be the perfect spouse.  Sure, we had our problems, but I never had any indication that soon after we were married he would throw a glass across the room toward my head.  And that started the cascade of abuse that ended our marriage in 2013.  I will spare you the details.  But once I decided that I could not longer live like that I fought and clawed my way out until I could change the locks and file for divorce.  That took a couple of years of biding my time until I could get to that point.  Soon after I met a man that swept me off my feet.  I had many red flags but ignored them.  Please do not ignore the red flags.  If you take nothing else away from this post, please listen to your gut!  I lived with this man for three years, during which time the abuse kept escalating and I left.  That is condensing things a great deal but you see I did not leave a bad marriage to relive it again in my next relationship.  I could have stayed for convenience but I value myself too much.  So I packed up my stuff, put most of it in storage, and moved in with a friend.  Was that the easy way out?  No, but I needed to protect myself, my heart and my pets who were also suffering.  My poor cats lived in a room for two months.  I will never forgive myself for doing that to them.  But they were safe right?  I see now that the reg flags were screaming at me early on to listen to them.  But I didn’t.   I’m hoping that my story inspires some of you going through something similar to listen. 

    So back to why I cried when I registered today for that retreat.  Because when I left that house in February with all my crap and no direction I promised myself that I would never settle for less than I was worth, even if that meant being alone for the rest of my life. For two months I cried.  I’ll be honest I think I was severely depressed.  But I kept plugging along.  Because people count on me to be the strong one.  Until a friend I had known for several years became much more than a friend and turned out to be everything I could have ever hoped for.  I cried today because I have never been so completely supported in all that I do.  I’ve never been so completely supported in my illness.  I was always jealous of those women that had that spouse or significant other.  Ladies, I know they are difficult to find. But I’m writing this post not so much that you know my story, but that you know your worth and if that isn’t being supported that you find a way that it is.  Listen to the flags, listen to your heart.  It won’t lead you astray.  You are powerful.  You are worth every bit of wonderful.  It exists.  Step into that.

    Peace & love,

    Heather


  6. Can’t get to sleep???

    March 3, 2016 by Heather

    Sleep Hygiene

    Are you having trouble falling asleep?  Staying asleep?  Follow these tips below for a better night sleep TONITE!

    #1 Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep
    Avoid these 4-6 hours before bed. Although alcohol may help bring on sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night.

    #2 Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment
    A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound sleep. To achieve this try earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light. Keep the temperature comfortably cool, between 60 and 75°F, and the room well ventilated. And make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable as well as your sheets.
    Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

    #3 Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine
    An hour or so before bed participate in some relaxing activities. Take a bath, read a book, have a cup of herbal tea, meditate or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities such as doing work, discussing emotional issues etc. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down in a journal.

    #4 Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired
    Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep. The same thing holds true for if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Just make sure to keep the lights dim during this time. The worst thing you can do is watch the clock. It can increase your stress level over not being able to sleep. Try turning it away so you cannot see it.

    #5 Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
    Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s internal clock to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on as well. If you did not sleep well the night before, try to get up at the same time to maintain your schedule and keep your internal clock set.

    #6 Nap Early
    If you feel like a nap is necessary keep it short and before 5 p.m. If you nap too late it may affect your ability to sleep later.

    #7 Lighten Up on Evening Meals
    Eat your dinner and try to keep it lighter than your breakfast and/or lunch. A small snack before bed is alright if you have issues with low cortisol/low blood sugar during the night.

    #8 Balance Fluid Intake
    Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.

    #9 Exercise Early
    Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly but don’t exercise too late in the day. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which can keep you awake.

    #10 Shut down your devices early
    Shut down your electronic devices and hour or two before bed as they have been shown to affect melatonin.

    Have you tried any of these? If you do, or have, I’d love to hear how it went!  Leave a comment below or send me a message!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather


  7. Powerful Plant Protein

    January 25, 2016 by Heather

    Eat

    “I was determined to know beans.”— Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field

    How about you? How well do you know beans?

    Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.

    Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories.

    Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

    What To Do With Beans

    Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them? Keep reading:

    • Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
    • Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
    • Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
    • Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
    • Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
    • Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.

    If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans.

    • Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.
    • Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).
    • After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
    • To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water
    • Cover and simmer for the suggested time.  Skim off the foam off the top.
    • Remember: Only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
    • Quick tips: For speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours. Or use canned beans instead (some people find them even easier to digest!). Be sure to avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once removed from the can.

     

    How do you like to eat your beans?  Have you been afraid to eat beans because of their, ahem, gas producing effects? Try the tips above and let me know how you make out!  I’d love to hear from you!!

     


  8. Meal prep…on the weekend!

    November 6, 2015 by Heather

    Meal prepon the weekend

    Ok some of you are super busy during the week and meal prep becomes difficult. Some of you have days that you are feeling super poopy and meal prep is out of the question. What happens? You go for unhealthy eats and you feel worse. Why? Because your body needs super nutritious fuel to feel it’s best. So how can you combat the busy or the feeling poopy? What can you do to get nutritious fuel into that body of yours? Well…..I could tell you to reach for your Shakeology, and that would be a nice alternative but you’ll need to do some kind of meal prep too. Sorry, you knew I was going to say that!! So…I recommend you do this on the weekend so that there are no excuses during the week to not eat healthy. This will take some time on your part on the weekend but once it becomes routine it will go quick and easy and you’ll thank me for it. 🙂  Remember, the freezer and the crockpot are your friends!

    Here are a list of things you can prepare on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead.

    Grains (brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal etc.) You’ll want to soak this the day before. You can have a couple pots of these cooking at the same time to make your life easier.
    Beans (again you’ll want to soak these the day before). I cook up atleast a bag for the week because you can pretty much add them to anything. These freeze well too.
    Lentils. They are great because they don’t need to be soaked.
    Hard boiled eggs if you’re not vegan.  These are great to add to salads or grab or go.
    A big ole’ pot of any kind of healthy soup you like. You can eat throughout the week and/or freeze leftovers.
    Homemade trail mix is so much healthier than the stuff you buy in the store. Make your own with dried fruit (preferably no sugar added), raw or roasted nuts (I would roast yourself) and anything else you’d like to add.
    Chop up a bunch of veggies to grab and go with some hummus or nut butter and to have on hand for easy dishes. No chopping necessary during the week!! You’re welcome!  You can also use some of these veggies to make up a big salad to have on hand for lunches, dinners, side dishes etc.
    Protein sources you can cook up ahead of time and keep in the fridge and/or freezer. Examples are chicken, fish, tofu, ground turkey, ground chicken etc. Get grass fed meats whenever possible.
    Casseroles are another thing that you can make up on the weekends that freeze very well.
    Veggie burgers! They freeze well and are great to have on hand on a busy night or when you don’t feel up to cooking.

    Do you need some healthy recipes?  I have a bunch on this blog and on my Facebook page.  If you go ahead and try this meal prep let me know how it works for you!  I’d love to hear from you!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather


  9. 9 Reasons to Drink Your Water

    September 7, 2015 by Heather

    9 Reasons To Drink Your Water

    I’m pretty sure there’s a water post somewhere here on this but it is SO worth repeating!  So many times I hear people are only drinking a glass of water a day, or worse yet, nothing!  Oh my word!  If this is you, you are walking around chronically dehydrated!  If you don’t think that’s a big deal let me break it down for you!  Below are 9 reasons why you should up your water intake.  And by up I mean ATLEAST half your body weight in ounces.  And no your coffee doesn’t count!  More if you are sweating, i.e, summer, hard workouts etc.  If you think this sounds like a lot and are starting from zero, then work your way up to that.  Warning:  You will be peeing a lot.  This is NORMAL and a good thing!  All of that water you’ve been retaining??  You’re flushing it down the toilet!  Don’t you feel less puffy already??

    Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water!!

    Weight Loss!  They had me at weight loss!!  Water replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. It’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar. And if you are dehydrated your body will actually retain water!  Ouch!  Drink atleast half your weight in ounces to help your weight-loss regimen.

    Heart health! Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

    Energy!  So many of us suffer from lack of energy.  We often blame our Fibro but this may only be part of the issue.  You could be dehydrated and being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.

    Relief from Headaches!  Do you suffer from daily headaches or migraines?  Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

    Healthy skin!  Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.  Who doesn’t want that healthy glow??

    Digestive problems! Fibro peeps typically have enough digestive issues.  Drinking more water can help!  Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).  There’s nothing worse than not being able to poop!!!

    Cleansing!  Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.  If you aren’t drinking enough you are holding onto that stuff!  Ick!  And if you didn’t know, the Fibro person absorbs more toxins than the average bear and has a harder time getting rid of them so drink up!!!

    Cancer risk!  Related to the digestive system item above, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.  Wow!

    Better Exercise! Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to put the most into your workout. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise and if you’re sweating a lot up your daily intake.

     

    Here are a few tips to remember to drink your water! 

    Form a routine.  If you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  A glass when you get up, before you go to bed, before lunch etc.

    Carry a bottle.  I always have my water bottle with me.

    Set phone reminders so you don’t forget.

    Substitute water for something you’re already drinking.

    Track it in a log along with how you’re feeling.  Once you realize you feel better not dehydrated you’ll be more apt to keep at it. 

    I hope this helps you to see just how important drinking your water is!  Often we underestimate the small, seemingly insignificant things we can do to help us feel better.  These things, added up over time, can go a long way to helping you feel so much better!

     

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     
     

     

     


  10. Are you Snacking Healthy?

    June 3, 2015 by Heather

    Eat Your snacks!

    I often hear from my Fibro peeps that they have no energy.  When I ask what they are eating the usual response is something like, “well, I don’t eat much at all.”  Oh boy!  MY FRIENDS!!!  You would not expect a car to run without any fuel yes?!  The same holds true for your body.  You need to feed it in order for it to function!  That means meals and snacks!  I always get asked a lot of questions about nutrition, and the foods that I eat, so I wanted to give you a list of some healthy snack options to get you started!  Eating regularly will also help with weight loss!  YES!  Because if you don’t feed that body of yours it will think it’s starving and not let go of anything!  We don’t want that do we!? Being prepared is KEY when it comes to weight loss! When hunger strikes you want to have something nutritious to munch on so you don’t have to resort to fast food or junk food! 
     
    Tip: it’s best to have some protein with each snack for more staying power. For example, instead of just eating an apple, have a bit of almond butter with the apple. 
     
    Here are some healthy snacks for you!  Let me know how it goes! 
     
    • Hard boiled eggs
    • Apples
    • Almond butter
    • Hummus on brown rice pita
    • Pears
    • Carrots (or any veggies) and Hummus
    • Guacamole with veggies or brown rice pita
    • Cashews
    • Macadamia Nuts
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Pistachios
    • Shakeology (I have this every day!)
    • Bananas
    • Berries
    • Dark chocolate (as long as it’s more than 70% cacao…you’re welcome ;))
    • Organic edamame
    • Organic popcorn

    Please note: When I mention nuts I mean raw nuts.

     
    If you find these ideas helpful, please forward this to a friend =) 
     
    Peace & Love,
    Heather