Lately I have been getting into Health Optimization. Everything from skin, nutrition and fitness advances to peptides, stem cells and nootropics. I figured since the standard healthcare system has been a bit of a let down. I need to manage this on my own. So you can join me on my journey of trying to optimize my health. Now I am not a health hacker in the sense that I don’t actually like the word hack and second I am not willing to just try anything on my body. I have to have done the research and believe it is safe. Then I am ok with testing on myself.
Today I decided to try the nootropic Methylene Blue. I purchased a buccal troche (lozenge you place between gum and cheek) of JUST BLUE from Troscriptions about $30 with the goal of improving cognitive function. To be honest I was hoping for a Limitless experience -still love that movie ;) But here is why in more detail I thought it was worth testing.
Methylene Blue is one of the most powerful mitochondrial optimizers on the planet, boosting energy levels, enhancing memory, improving focus, protecting the brain, and so much more. Just Blue is pure methylene blue nootropic made with 16mg of pharmaceutical-grade, purity/potency tested, methylene blue.
Just Blue users report:
So... what was my experience so far? I started with the recommended 1/4 troche which was more about getting used to it or titrating to determine your optimal amount. I did feel a bit more focused and calm . But no earth shattering ideas came to me. Two days later I used 1/2 a troche and about the same experience. I did find that the tip of my tongue and top of my mouth felt a bit numb like when you eat hot pizza and you are left with a little burn. But apparently not an issue for most people . So the jury is still out. I will continue to use the package and see if I experience more benefits and may try one of the other Blue products they carry. I’ll keep you posted . And if anyone else has tried it would love to hear your thoughts.
Some HISTORY for those who like to know more:
Methylene Blue (methylthioninium chloride) is a synthetic compound used as a nootropic to increase memory, mood and longevity.
Soon after Methylene Blue was synthesized as a textile dye in the late 1800’s, it became the first synthetic drug to be used in humans. It was used for the treatment of malaria.
In the early 20th century, psychiatrists were using Methylene Blue in the experimental treatment of schizophrenia.
Methylene Blue is currently being studied as potential therapy for mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders. All sharing a common problem with mitochondrial function.
We all did it. We ate too much too often these past few weeks and now it’s time to clean it up and get on track. To give myself a fresh start, I do a couple of things: First, I give myself a break over any over indulgences I had during the season. Second, I do a huge purge of all holiday candy and treats that are still lingering around. Throw them out! All those little temptations can add up really fast. Nothing calls to me like a bag of holiday peanut M&Ms that is sitting in the cabinet after the tree is long gone. Plus, I HATE wrecking a day or two of clean eating by diving back into leftover holiday goodies. If it’s out of the house, it’s out of your mouth - so toss it all and get back in then swing of eating clean faster!
So now that supermodel Linda Evangelista has come out to talk about her CoolSculpting experience, I thought it was a good time to share my thoughts on the problem with society’s need for instant results.
They Rarely, If Ever, Look Good!
Whether you are looking for quick fat/weight-loss or trying to make yourself look more youthful, there is no one treatment that will immediately do this. You need to be in it for the long haul. Even with surgery and injectables - yes there are some quick results - you still need to employ long-term care of your skin and the health of your body for ideal healing and the best natural looking outcome.
Want better skin? Then a plan that includes an in spa skin program where you can have controlled but more aggressive treatments, combined with home care and the tried and true basics.
Eat Healthy, Sleep More, Reduce Stress and Exercise. Boring? Maybe. But effective? ALWAYS!
Want a good body? You need to pick up the weights, start moving your body and change your eating habits. It’s a process.
I was actually glad to see Linda Evangelista come out with her experience as it is something many of my clients have already been through when trying supposed fat melting procedures. Here is a woman with access to the best trainers and personal chefs. Yet she still chose to have a treatment that according to her has left her disfigured.
Uneven dents due to CoolSculpting are quite common. I have seen it in numerous clients. Liposuction as well can leave bumps and bulges and some of the fat removal systems that utilize heat and cold can cause nerve damage.
Wow you have an amazing body! Yup I got it from "Insert Fat Removal Device". Said NO ONE ever!
What does work? Nutrition and fitness and time.
But those are not the only reasons for opting out of permanent fat removal - gaining weight even minor amounts less than 5 lbs can show up near the area you had the fat removed. It seems those fat cells that are left near removal sites increase in size often leaving the area looking worse than prior to the treatment. Recent studies show that in most cases all fat returns after a year. In some cases the fat comes back as visceral fat - the more dangerous type that wraps around your internal organs.
If you still choose one of the these methods please be aware they are not for weight loss and anyone with significant weight to lose should not even consider them. They are designed for specific fat site removal - side effects and all.
I could write for hours on the many reasons promises of instantly turning back the clock often results in disaster, from too much filler to fat removal, to not taking the time to search out trained professionals for treatments. Simply said, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If you are going to try something that you are not sure about, research it, work with someone who has performed many procedures, understand the risks and start small.
I LOVE COOL SUMMER TREATS ON THE 4TH OF JULY AND AT ONLY 90 CALORIES, MONK FRUIT AS THE SWEETENER PLUS BLUEBERRIES AND POMEGRANATE CHERRY JUICE I WAS ALL IN FOR POPSICLES.
RED, WHITE, & BLUEBERRY POPSICLES INGREDIENTS
One 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk*
6 drops of Lemon or Vanilla Liquid Monkfruit Drops**
1/4 cup Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup
6 oz blueberries
12 oz POM Wonderful Pomegranate Cherry 100% juice (or any red unsweetened juice)
Blend coconut milk, Lemon or Vanilla Liquid Monkfruit Drops, and Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup together. **If a vanilla flavor is also desired while using Lemon Monkfruit Drops, use 1/4 teaspoon of regular vanilla extract.
Fill 2/3 popsicle mold with blueberries then pour in coconut mixture to fill in around blueberries.
Tap to let out air bubbles.
Freeze for an hour or until a frozen crust or film develops.
Fill last third with cherry juice and put popsicle sticks in.
Freeze until solid.
*If coconut isn't your thing feel free to use a plain yogurt that has been thinned out with a liquid of your choice (avoid anything with acid, these pops have enough of that). You may want to add more Liquid Monkfruit Extract drops or Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup to counter the tartness if you choose this option.
Due to the pom-cherry juice, these popsicles have a few more carbs... but when you treat yourself, think also of all the antioxidants that you're gaining from those carbs! Nutrition information provided is based on original recipe, as listed.
Lately I have been getting a lot of questions that I thought had long been resolved. But alas they have not, so I wanted to answer some long standing beauty and fitness questions once and for all. 🤔
Q. If I dermaplane/shave will the hair grow back thicker?
A. The answer is no. Cutting hair at skin level, which is what shaving or dermaplaning does, will not affect the hair growth. You may feel that way because you go through a stubbly stage and if you remove it and get used to the way you look when it grows back you may become more aware of it. But the answer is unequivocally NO.
Q. Is the higher the skin protection factor (SPF) rating, the better?
A. SPF ratings, soon to be revised by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only refer to protection from UVB rays. A person needs sun protection that has chemical and physical blockers, plus antioxidants. A higher SPF also gives a false sense of security and introduces more potentially harmful chemicals to the body. Plus, an SPF of 50 is only marginally more protective than an SPF of 15; an SPF of 30 has only 2% more protection than an SPF of 15, and a 40 has only 1% more than a 30. Sunscreens need to be reapplied every 90–120 minutes. The key is to use good quality suncreen, layer it and repply frequently.
Q. Will lifting weights make me look bulky?
A. The simple answer: No. Many people (especially females) are afraid that if they lift weights, they will get bulky (gain a lot of muscle mass), which inevitably changes their physique into what they may view as undesirable. Weight training does one thing very reliably: it makes you stronger. Women will not bulk up like men, because they have a different hormone profile. Men have more testosterone, which promotes muscle growth. For women, both fortunately and unfortunately, their hormone profile allows them to increase muscle without getting bulky, but also deters them from losing all the fat they may desire as easily as men. A clean diet will promote this wanted fat loss for them.
For that desired “fit” look, perform sets with a few reps at maximum capacity to be effective. You should have a true “gassed out” feeling at the end of your lifting set and feel unable to perform many, if any, more sets.
You need to be strong to be lean, and to do this, the recipe is simple: weight training, clean diet with everything in moderation and cardio.
Q. Are natural and organic products are always better?
A. Many natural and organic products are not as they claim. Plus, many times, active ingredients have to be synthesized to be bioavailable and efficacious. Synthetic compounds can actually be identical to those found in nature and be more effective. Natural vs. laboratory-processed should not lead to an up or down decision about whether a product is good or bad. Not all chemicals are bad, and not all natural or organic ingredients are good.
We love a good home skincare routine. Consistent daily practice is essential to maintaining the condition of your skin. But sometimes, you may run into issues that cannot be addressed at home and you need to turn to the experts for professional treatments. Facial treatments such as peels, infusions, microneedling or lasers can yield dramatic results – especially when incorporated with your regular skincare routine. Here are some of the benefits you'll experience by adding regular professional facial treatments into your skin health plan.
1. Less acne scarring and skin divets
Professional treatments like chemical peels and needeling work to even out your skin, which means that scarring from environmental stresses and acne are less visible. You can expect your skin’s color and texture to see an overall improvement.
2. Visible wrinkle reduction and rejuvenated appearanceRegular skin treatments and facials not only get rid of dead skin cells they also stimulate the production of collagen, which helps reveal new skin that looks and feels smoother and thicker.
3. Even skin toneIf your skin has marks from surgeries, wrinkles or sun spots, a regular regimen of facial treatments such as chemical peel designed to treat pigmentation can help even out your coloring so that such damage is not so noticeable. Plus, an evened skin tone can give you the freedom to breakup with your heavy foundation.
4. Unclog poresDirt, oil, and dead skin cells clog up your pores and cause them to be more visible to the human eye. Recommended Treatments; Acne facials with extractions, hydro facials and enzyme peel with Blue Light combinations can help to decongest your pores and keep them that way.
5. Sensitive skin or redness
Red and irritated skin can be due to a variety of factors allergies rosacea high level of capillaries an thin skin.
6. Therapy for pre-cancerous conditions.
Research has shown that chemical peels and IPL along with other facial-resurfacing techniques, help prevent skin cancers by treating precancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis, which is an early stage of squamous cell carcinoma. Thus, regular facial treatments can be a tool in your fight against skin cancer.
7. More effective daily care.
Once you’ve had a facial treatment, you’ve removed icky bits that have been clogging your pores. This means that your regular skin products – moisturizers, creams, serums, and lotions – will be more easily absorbed, and are now more effective.
8. Feeling good!
There’s nothing like the feeling that you are healthy and putting your best face forward. Having regular facial treatments helps you radiate confidence and makes you feel fantastic.
Schedule your consultation now. Beautiful skin awaits!
I usually have this as a breakfast option for my client meal plans and I eat it a few times a week. It is very easy to make but the cooking time is key in order to make a tasty bowl versus a bland too thick version. This video should help.
1 cup (approx) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup oat bran (GF and organic options by Bob's Red Mill available)
1 scoop whey or whey casein protein powder I like Quest peanut butter or GNC vanilla and lately Devotion sweet potato pie.
Topping suggestions: Guittard tiny dark chocolate chips 1 serving,
diced apple with cinnamon, diced pears with ginger, 1 scoop PB powder.
Macros: without any additional topping
Sanitation and a healthy environment have always been a priority at S-Team Skin And Body but we want to make you aware of some additional practices we have put in place.
As a private boutique skin and body clinic we are able to provide a safe, controlled, clean environment with minimal contact. Here are a few procedures you will notice upon your next visit.
✅ Upon arrival you will be asked to wash and sanitize your hands
✅ Your temperature will be taken and you will be asked some health questions. If you have a temperature you will be asked to reschedule your appointment.
✅ We will have you remove your shoes to avoid germs from outside. You may either wear your own socks or we will provide disposable ones.
✅ Only one person in the waiting area at a time. If there is someone here when you arrive please wait outside in the building lobby until they exit.
😷Appointments are staggered to minimize contact with others and allow for a complete sanitization
😷As our standard practice we alway sanitize or dispose of everything that is used during a treatment. We have now added the check out area, door knobs, restroom keys. and high touch points.
😷We will be wearing a mask, gloves and protective eyewear during all services and face shields if very close contact is needed.
😷Our beds have freshly laundered sheets and blankets for each treatment. Each bed is disinfected prior to applying the sheets. Fresh gowns are available as well.
😷There will no longer be testers available. We keep them behind the desk. They can be applied to clients without any contact when needed.
😷Please do not bring anyone with you to your appointment they will not be able to wait in our lobby.
😷Our cancellation policy will be waived over the next 60 days while we and our clients adjust to our new normal and to ensure clients do not feel compelled to come in if not feeling well.
😷Our service providers are diligent with their health and would never see clients or come in contact with anyone if there are concerns of exposure or less than optimal health.
😷We will continue to offer virtual consultations and drop by or curbside pick up. Shopping with us online is always available.
Thank you again for all of your support during this time. It has been a constant reminder of why we are in this business. It’s You! 😍
📅You may schedule your June and July appointments online. Injectables are available every Thursday beginning June 4.
Below are some Covid - 19 inspired packages but feel free to put together any combination of products that best suit your Mom's needs . We will package them up, add a note from you and give you 10% off . Just email us with all the details.
IMMUNE BOOSTING POWER PACKS
GIFT # 1 For the frequent mask wearer - keeps skin clean and healthy
DMK Milk Cleanser - A gentle water soluble wash loved by all skin types. It is a low pH-balanced cleansing lotion with white oak bark, birch bark, yucca, and soybean extracts for dry, delicate or sensitive skin.
DMK Betagen- A cream designed to enhance the skin’s immune system and is often described as an “emergency cream” for reactive, irritated or inflamed skin due to its calming and soothing effect. Good for premature aging, sun-damaged skin, eczema, psoriasis and sluggish skin. It contains powerful antioxidants that can assist the healing process while reducing the visible signs and effects of aging.
DMK AcuMist - Acu-Mist works to restore the skin's acid mantel, which acts as a barrier against bacteria and other potential contaminants. While it helps to prevent against infection, containing antiseptics and antibacterial preservatives, it also assists to soothe the skin. Great before and after wearing a mask.
GIFT #2 A shield of support - created to strengthen skin externally and internally with added sanitization
Defy Hand Sanitizer - moisturizing hand sanitizer with the cleanest most effective ingredients. Choose from Menthe, Lavande, Citron and Earl
Seba E Oil & Herb and Mineral Mist This combination initiates barrier repair therapy and restore the skins acid mantle. This mist can also be sprayed over make-up to brighten and wake-up tired skin. Seba-E is formulated with a very fine blend of herbal oils and vitamin E which aims to penetrate the skin and seal in moisture.
DMK efa+ contains Seabuckthorn seed oil, which provides more than 100 nutrients and bioactive substances, many of which build the skin's immune system such as linolenic acid, vitamins E & A, carotene, polyphenols and flavoniods. Vital trace elements for younger appearing skin, such as copper, manganese and selenium.
GIFT # 3 Face it - Solutions for skin in need of a healthy boost and glow
Shelter Mask Kit - By mixing with Exoderma Peel, Foamy Lift mask activates microcirculation to keep the skin functioning between treatments. It tightens and tones the skin by removing dead skin cells and impurities. It also brightens the skin and increases dermal hydration.
Direct Delivery Vitamin C Serum - prevents and reverses the signs of biological and environmental aging. It is highly recommended for men and women of all ages and is suitable for aging, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and scarring, with four different types of vitamin C.
Instructions for using the S-Team Skin And Body Enzyme Packet.
Each packet is 8 oz approx enough for 4 treatments if covering the entire body. ( Body only, NOT the face)
1. In a plastic or disposable bowl (or Solo Red cups work well) mix ¼ cup at a time of enzyme with room temperature water till the consistency of crepe mix (not too thin but pancake is a bit too thick) after one application you will easily get the feel for it.
2. Apply with provided brush to areas of the body you want to treat. ½ a cup typically covers the entire body. You may apply everywhere on the body except breasts and genitals sensitive areas. If your neck is sensitive stop at the collar bone.
3. Dry for 30-40 min. You can lay on the bed with a towel under you once dry to touch but may stick a bit. Ideally make the room warm or lay a light towel on top of you. Some people with nice heated showers hang out there too.
4. Once done, rinse off completely in the shower with a wash cloth. Redness in the area is normal and expected and will fade over the next hour. You may now apply your favorite moisturizer when done. I like using the DMK Body Sculpting Body Contour Cream, Perfect Body Lotion or Natura Bisse C+C Summer Lotion.
5. Rinse brush completely and air dry. Seal pouch to avoid any water getting inside. Store in a clean, dry area out of direct light.
A great shelter skin treatment, the DMK Enzyme Masque. Email or text us if you would like a kit delivered this week! It’s a skin saver!! We deliver for free in: San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Walnut Creek, Lafayette
$71 includes Exoderma Peel, Foamy Lift, Bowl, Brush, Deep Pore Pure Cleanser. I suggest you use it once a week for stronger, healthier, more resistant skin!
I am planning a girls get away to Nashville this weekend and wanted to add a little extra pizazz to my skin. I decided it was a good time to try a new treatment from a trusted colleague. I chose the Micro-Botox facial since it is great for quickly reducing the appearance of pores, improving texture, boosting hydration in the skin and works in a few days. It’s an ideal choice for an event. It is popular with celebrities before award shows as it tighten up the skin. Sounded exactly like what I needed so I asked Dr. Denise Hilliard to sign me up. This is how it went.
Normally clients would numb prior to this treatment and after having it I would suggest that is a wise plan. I on the other hand didn't have time so I decided to forego the numbing.
The treatment began with Dr Hilliard applying the cocktail of hyaluronic acid, peptides and Botox to my clean face and neck with a brush. Then she needled the mixture into my skin. Again with numbing it wouldn't have been painful but it was a little pokey. She alternated a few times between serum and needling until it was complete. Just like with traditional micro needling you don't add anything else to the skin after the treatment protocol so I was good to go.
I had to go directly out to dinner and needless to say looked a bit strange. My face was both shiny and sticky with a few bonus blood droplets. But nobody commented, maybe because my dinner partner who had a plasma treatment a few days earlier looked even stranger 😉.
I was told I needed to leave it on for 4 hours or overnight and use a clean disposable sponge or clean hands to apply makeup for the next couple of days. No direct acids, scrubs or retinols.
That evening I decided adding a towel to my pillow was a good idea and in the morning was glad I did.
I woke up and couldn't wait to wash my face with a gentle cleanser. I was pleasantly surprised I actually looked better than I expected. I had a couple of dots but not too bad. In fact after I but a bit of cc cream on with clean hands of course, a few people commented on how good my skin looked. Now I can’t wait to see how it is in a couple of more days.
Looking back at 2019, and trying to come up with a word that defines that year, extreme seemed to be the most appropriate. While things like politics and social justice received a lot of play in the news and are important topics, I am going to focus on its influence in my sector; health, wellness, fitness and skin and body care.
1. Bigger is Better
As the owner of a spa that focuses on creating the best version of yourself through balance and self improvement, I was particularly frustrated by the "bigger is better" trend. While I support people doing whatever they want to make themselves feel better there seems to be an inability to have limits and the ability to see the difference between improvement or enhancement and obsession.
Eyelashes - While they are the easiest to correct they are also the most obvious. Big, black costume-like spiders on your eyes are not your friend. Strive for something in balance and in line with your skin and hair color.
The Duck Lips - A bit of lip filler can look lovely and remove vertical lines, but lips that enter the room before you do are distracting and take away from your other features.
Pillow Face - Don't get me wrong. A little filler can highlight facial features and help balance the face and create symmetry. But in the wrong or less talented hands you can end up with an overblown puffy look that is instantly aging.
Ok, this one may make you angry at first, but hear me out. There is never any reason to be unkind to anyone regarding the way they look. Never! That being said, it is equally unkind to glamorize unhealthy bodies to make people feel better. I want to word this clearly. The world is full of different body types and all can be beautiful but taking any of those body types and adding 50 - 100 + lbs of health damaging fat, and then telling the world that this is not only fine but should be glorified, is ridiculous. On the same note, people who gain large amounts of weight need support and positive reinforcement, not criticism to help them lose enough weight to be healthy. I said healthy, not skinny. That weight will be different for everyone. So lets stop trying to feed our own egos (look what a nice person I am) by saying we a think somebody morbidly obese looks just as good as someone at a healthy weight. Instead, encourage loved ones who need to lose excess weight, which will lead to all types of life threatening diseases and lifestyle limitations, to instead make changes that will not only keep them around longer but also make them feel better. It's time to get REAL.
3. The Quick Fix
I deal with this one a lot. Everyone nowadays seems to think that results that look good are healthy and lasting should be easily achievable or happen after one treatment. Trust me - you didn't get that sun damaged skin after one day at the beach. You didn't gain 30 lbs from 2 glasses of wine and you certainly can’t create lasting natural looking change in a day. You need to actually put in the work. I always tell my clients that the treatments done at the spa need to be used as an enhancement to the basics. Without doing these core things you will never get a glowing healthy vibrant you.
In summary, keep the extremes in sports, not on your face and body! Have a Happy and Balanced 2020!
I've noticed recently that a number of my clients are coming to me after delaying self-care for some pretty significant blocks of time. I hear things like, "Now that my child is in school, I want to drop this baby weight and get back to being me", or "I think that is my mother looking back at me in the mirror". It's always a very vulnerable expression of having spent time away from some of the very basic elements of looking after yourself. I understand - we all do. The solution is an immediate reprogramming to recognize that being your best you sometimes means putting yourself first.
The Roles Than "Define" US
As women, it not uncommon for us to put the things we want on hold to develop the aspirations of those around us. It's important to know that taking the time to develop a career or raise a family involves a very subtle form of sacrifice that can leave us with little time for self care. So, how do we turn things around?
Step 1. Stop listening to that voice that tells you to delay things for yourself. To be the best version of you, it's crucial to be bold enough to take the things for yourself that will ground you into a better reality - and to do it without guilt.
Step 2. Decide what issues are unacceptable to you. Choose one maybe two concerns and start there. If you take on too much you may get frustrated and lose focus.. Change doesn't happen overnight. It is one step at a time in the right direction.
Step 3. Arm yourself with experts. When you want to remodel your home you might hire an architect, a contractor and interior designer. Treat yourself as you would any other important project. You may need a trainer , nutritionist, esthetician or a physician. Decide what you want to change then hire appropriately. The professionals who you select should make you feel comfortable and heard. They should be well educated but also model what you would like to achieve. Then listen to what they say and results will follow.
It's More Than Just Looks
I hear people say things like, "you should love yourself as you are." "You don't need others to tell you how you should look or feel." And though I agree with those statements in theory, you should never feel badly about wanting to be what you consider to be your best. And only you should decide what that is. Most everyone feels better when they look better. It's natural and normal, not vain. So put those concerns to rest.
Today Is Your Day
By taking proactive steps to take care of ourselves, we can not only make today better, but we can set the stage for a more compelling and dynamic future. The best you is in you. Get out of the way and let her out. Today.
Marin Kombucha is uniquely brewed in small batches with locally sourced, organic ingredients. During the fermentation process, they oak age the Kombucha to enhance its unique flavor profile and healing properties: probiotics, antioxidants, and detoxifying organic acids.
There are four signature flavors of oak-aged craft brewed Kombucha tea to reflect the bounty of our local harvest: Original Oak, Apple Juniper, Pinot Sage, and Ginger Lemongrass are each available in 16-ounce bottles and 5-gallon kegs.
I had the Pinot Sage and since I try to keep cocktails to a bare minimum this is my replacement. Pour into a beautiful glass and I don't feel like I'm missing anything other than a hangover :) I found them in SafeWay, Whole Foods and Sprouts. Not available at all of the stores though so you may have to ask.
The same protein shake day after day can get old - and diet boredom can lead to moments of weakness and cheating. I found a few easy additions to dress up my usual vanilla protein shake to create a filling treat that gets me through the occasional monotony of maintaining a clean diet.
Hold The Candles...
Two bananas - sliced into chunks that will mix easy
Two scoops Vanilla Flavored Whey ( or favorite protein) Powder
One teaspoon Vanilla
Almond Extract - to taste - don't over do it - it's pretty strong and a couple drops will do
One cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 - Take All Ingredients
2 - Put Them In The Bullet
3 - You Know What Comes Next...
Gluten Free, Guilt Free and Filling. What could be better than that?
This February I am highlighting three of my favorite foods. I came across one new product and the others are two products I have been using for years that I enjoy and are worthy of sharing.
Selection #1 is Orgain's Organic Protein Peppermint Hot Chocolate. In general, I find hot beverages to be a pretty good choice when trying to stave off hunger. This peppermint hot chocolate does the trick. At just 150 calories it has a rich delicious taste and a whopping 21 grams of protein. It's vegan, organic, gluten free, and I know what all the ingredients are. One cup in the morning or before bed ...delicious!
Note: I use 2 scoops in in 8 -10 oz of unsweetened almond milk. It does require a lot of mixing to get it well blended before and after heating . So stir a lot or use an immersion blender to get it nice and smooth.
I know you probably already use almond butter and are aware that it is good for you in moderation. I however, am a peanut butter addict who wants to like almond butter too. Trader Joe's Creamy Almond Butter is the ONLY almond butter I actually enjoy. In general, I find almond butter a bit dry and grainy for my taste but this creamy almond butter is so delicious and mild. There are only three ingredients, and no added sugar. If that isn't enough, it is less expensive than most almond butters. And yes, for those of you who prefer crunch, they have a crunchy version as well. Pick one up on your next visit to Trader Joe's and let me know if it's your new favorite.
I have been eating bars since Jane Fonda was in tights, when they were dry flavorless and more like carbohydrate heavy blocks. Most of my friends wouldn't eat them, claiming they tasted like dirt. But, if something was "good" for me, I'd choke it down. No need to do that anymore. If you are looking for a protein focused bar, the Kirkland Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar is a winner. It has 190 calories, 21 grams of protein, and is sweetened with stevia and the sugar alcohol, erythritol, two of what are currently known to be GRAS sweeteners. It is something I can enjoy and causes me no digestive distress. It also has a nice, soft, chewy texture that is a change from the thick, harder bars. If you haven't already, you may want to give them a shot.
Note: They are available only at Costco.
I found a couple of no bake cookie dough recipes, modified them a bit and the result is pretty darn good. Granted there is no butter or eggs to give it that true raw dough taste but when you don't want to wreck your food plan and you just need a treat give it a shot. I found it filling and pretty tasty. I am making it tonight for the third time :)
No Bake Protein Cookie Dough
2 scoops Quest® Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder
2 scoops Quest® Multi-Purpose Mix Protein Powder
1⁄3 cup stevia baking sweetener
1⁄2 cup water (plus 1-2 tbsp, if needed)
1 1⁄2 T peanut butter - creamy
1 1⁄2 T butter extract
1 t vanilla extract
4 T coconut flour
1⁄2 t salt
30 dark chocolate chips
4 (4 oz) Mason jars or Roll in to Balls
In a medium bowl, stir together sweetener, water, peanut butter, butter extract and vanilla extract.
Add in both Quest Protein Powders®, coconut flour and salt. Stir until a thick dough is formed. (If dough is too crumbly, add additional water.) I found it easier to just knead it with my hands. You want to make sure all the ingredients are really well blended.
Stir in chocolate chips
Divide dough between four 4-oz Mason jars or roll into balls, and serve.
Can also refrigerate and eat the next day, it's just as good... maybe even better.
Serving size- one large ball (of 4) or one mason jar
9.25 Total Carbohydrates
When it comes to food and nutrition we are overwhelmingly inundated with mixed messages and misinformation.
Every diet rationale comes with an equally convincing counter argument. It’s no wonder we are exhausted before we have even started.
I’ve spent countless hours, attending classes, reading books, listening to nutrition lectures and even testing diets on myself to try to decipher the perfect way of eating. My most recent resource has been podcasts. While entertaining, there seems to be an awful lot of self proclaimed experts when it comes to food. I feel it’s because food is a subject that everyone participates in and has emotions attached to. I am at once fascinated and annoyed by all of the conflicting thoughts.
During the process, I totally gave up on the idea of coming up with the perfect diet. The fact is, everyone is different and many diets or eating plans can have positive effects on an unhealthy body. Instead, I decided to focus on finding the common thread. There had to be some universal ideas that in some way connected most food plans and were in line with my nutrition education and experience. Through this process, I was able to put together some universal truths. Of course there will be a few extreme diet outliers, but most scientifically backed diets have many of the items I have outlined below. I call them the “Fueling Fundamentals”, and I feel they are the easiest things you can do to reap the largest rewards.
Establish your eating window to be no more than 10-12 hours. I personally start eating at 6am and stop between 4-6pm
Listen to your body and eat when hungry during your window. That doesn't mean eat the whole time - just start really paying attention to the signals, and respond appropriately
This means fewer processed foods. Choose foods that are grown in your area, require minimal transportation to get to you and are grown or raised humanely with less pesticides and additives.
If it’s in season locally, buy and eat it. That means don’t eat strawberries from Spain in the winter. Your choices should require less assistance to be ripe at the appropriate time, be more budget friendly and support your health needs during that time of year. It makes it fun and provides motivation and opportunities to try new things and get out of meal ruts.
Ok this where most meal plans go off the rails. It doesn't have to be so complicated. Eat a mix of foods that consist of:
Proteins: Good quality proteins. Both meat or non-meat sources can work, though you do have to apply more effort into your selections to get balance if you go a non-meat route. Protein should be a part of all of your daily meals.
Carbohydrates: Lots of vegetables, kale and chard, carrots, peppers, mushrooms to name just a few - Eat green - Get lean.
Fats: Yes they are great but don’t go crazy because too much of even a good thing will ultimately be stored as body fat. Fat sources such as olive oil, avocados, egg yolks and nuts are great natural ways to improve skin, hair, and overall health - Just keep it to small amounts.
I think by now, almost all food has been considered a food you should never eat . But I will address some of common ones here:
Dairy - If you're allergic or lactose intolerant, this is obviously not a good choice.If dairy is not a problem I still suggest selecting high quality whole milk over processed and skim - just not a gallon a day. A small organic, grass-fed, full fat, greek yogurt , a little chèvre or some feta are all good choices. When it comes to cooking and added milk in recipes, I recommend almond milk or preferred non-dairy source, provided it’s not soy
Fruit: One - two pieces a day - some berries, a banana, apple, or pumpkin all have nutrition we need but avoid fruit juicing where fiber is lost and calories from fruit sugar add up too fast.
Sweets: Most people enjoy a treat every now and then, some more than others. Once you are eating healthy, you will crave sweets less and when you do, I think it’s best to eat a small piece of what you want, rather than more items trying to avoid the one you have deemed to be bad. My favorite is a small piece of dark chocolate or a tiny cup of dark chocolate mousse. Choosing small amounts of good quality flavorful treats on occasion will make you less interested in the typical halloween candy that always seems to hang around too long.
Bread: If you have celiac or a real gluten intolerance, then you can skip this part. If you are going to indulge in bread, choose a whole grain product with minimal processing.
Pasta: A small serving of pasta on occasion is fine if you enjoy it but keep it more as a side than a main dish.
Emotional Mindful Eating
We all eat for emotional reasons. People eat when stressed, or sad or happy. I eat sometimes just because it’s Fall - whatever your trigger is, just take a moment before you eat and think if you are really hungry. The more you do this, the more aware you become of fueling your body and less about trying to heal another need.
Be realistic. There are no evil or bad food is just food. When you eat something you think you shouldn’t, or you ate too much of don't beat yourself up. Just regroup, think about why you ate it, and come up with a way to deal with it differently
Remove Triggers. Other people don't have more self control or willpower than you . They most likely have just reduced the number of triggers around them. We will all break down and do something we shouldn't if faced with constant temptation. Don't make yourself work that hard. Simply reduce the opportunities for your body to give in. Don't buy food you have a hard time resisting. If it’s not around, it’s not part of your daily eating equation.
Set yourself up for success. Do food prep to make healthy cooking less of a chore when you are hungry. Have good to go snacks. Bring food with you when healthy food options are not available.
Don’t listen to others
Just because Johnny lost 30 lbs eating only meat and drinking bullet coffee and wants you to do the same doesn’t mean this is the path for you. Politely tell him you are glad that worked for him and then You Do You. You don't need don’t need to talk about or explain your healthy eating plan just go about it. Develop a positive relationship with food and you will feel and (bonus), look amazing.
I have always been bothered by the use of steroids in the fitness industry. I believe the goal of fitness endeavors should be geared around improving one's health. Sadly, I had gotten used to steroids in traditional bodybuilding, but then they started working their way into bikini competitions. These were originally created as an alternative format where women could have a competitive option that didn't require the need for drugs. The truth is, if there are people posing on a stage, there are steroids on the stage. I quickly became disenchanted with the whole idea of fitness related competitions.
One of the main reasons is that women who choose not to take these dangerous drugs no longer stand a chance of placing. Often, they don't realize the people who are winning are taking steroids. This leads to self blame and criticism. "I didn't train hard enough. I shouldn't have eaten that extra ounce of turkey," etc. Fitness should make you feel good about yourself. Training for a show is hard work and, if in the end, the only way to be competitive is to take steroids, what is a fitness related competition actually about?
I came across a great article by SpotMeGirl.com that outlines the details of steroids in women's fitness. My only caveat is the article states that "No one should have to disclose if they take any enhancements." I disagree. When it comes to competing, if you walk on a stage or enter a contest, it needs to be a level playing field. If its a drug show or a drug free show, just say so. Other than that, its a great read. Here's an excerpt and the link to read in full "Here is the kicker: most of you follow them on Instagram or Facebook and don’t realize it. No one said that steroids were only for the muscle bound bodybuilder like Iris Kyle. Bikini models and competitors alike take steroids to maintain a lean and cut figure. When it is your job, or you’re trying to make it your job, you’ll do what you need to in order to maintain a certain look. That is why while many people steer clear of steroids, there are those who benefit from it and you’d never know. How does that effect the industry though? By setting standards that many can’t attain."
Some days you just can't face it. One more session on the bike, treadmill, or stair machine feels like it will kill you. When cardio dread hits you, just break it up into smaller parts. For example, do ten minutes of cardio in the beginning of your work out, train a body part, do ten more minutes, train another body part, and finish up with a final ten minutes on your cardio machine of choice. It's easy to skip it when you aren't feeling it, but by knocking it out even when you don't want to will get you over the cardio blues.
We all have the same problem - we run out of time so frequently, it feels like we are never going to catch up with all the things we need to do. We try scheduling and making lists, but somehow time always slips away and things don't get done. I think this problem can be simplified to reach a level where nothing falls through the cracks, and we actually start to take on more than we thought possible before.
Managing Your Bandwidth
There are too many things pulling at us through technology that split our attention and often steal our productivity. You don't need to comment on every posted pic. You aren't missing out on anything. If you can free your mind from the need to check in with social media, your time will open up significantly. I'm not just talking about the time spent actually looking at your device - I'm combining that with the headspace you use automatically telling yourself that you need to look at your phone every thirty seconds. Turn your phone off. Give yourself a break from your tech habit. You will see that you really haven't missed a thing, and you have reclaimed minutes - and potentially hours everyday.
Say NO To Your Snooze Bar
This one is pretty simple. Those few moments of "snooze sleep" never help. I feel it can even set a daily tone of procrastination that results in low overall productivity. The personal freedom you will know by having the discipline to get up and attack your day feels so much better than those few extra minutes of restless sleep
Creating Daily and Weekly Goals
Here's the drill - Get a monthly planner. Take bites out of the year in 30 day segments. Write what you have to do in black on every day. For example, "Pay Rent", is a black ink item. Then, write in red for things you are going to do for yourself. "Go To Yoga" , would be a red item. Then, in green, write up your goals. Even something like "Paint The Bathroom Door". Write it down, and make it real. Just looking around and hoping you will get to it won't get it done. Consider this calendar your appointment book with yourself. It manages your must-do items, your personal health and wellness, and serves as a tracking system for the other little chores that slip away. This is not a calendar on your phone with all the built in distractions. It's paper. And pen. Like in the old days. Before phones. When things got done....
Just a little reminder to wear your sunscreen DAILY. We have come so far from when this ad was created - Tanning leads to premature aging and collagen breakdown that is often difficult and costly to reverse (if it's even possible). If you are still laying out, you are killing yourself. Literally.
This summer, many of us will be stepping away from our regular lives to get some much needed R&R. The best way to have a great trip is to not come home with extra pounds and cravings that are hard to kick. Don't worry - staying on track and making the most of your vacation can go hand in hand.
Managing The Food
The best tip I can give, is to stay away from the buffet. These staples of resort dining can lead you to pile on unnecessary calories, and send you into a craving tailspin. It's best to order a la carte, but if you must eat at the buffet, I suggest using two smaller plates. The first one is for your nutritious green vegetables and items that typically make up your normal eating routine. The second is for sampling a few of the things that look interesting. This will allow you to fill up first on healthier things, as well as give space for some dietary cheating. After all, it is a vacation.
Getting Your Work Out In
When I'm away from my usual gym, I also think of it as a break from the way I would normally work out. If you are somewhere that offers group classes, then take one that you have never taken before. That will make it fun and will give you something to look forward to. I also like to do two short sessions rather than one long one. For example, if I take a yoga class in the morning, I may do 20 minutes of core later in the afternoon. It's a good idea to coordinate your later session with happy hour. You can avoid unnecessary afternoon calories and alcohol by keeping this appointment with yourself. I feel much fresher going to dinner knowing I did something good for myself over having that extra Mai Tai. And that's not even mentioning those bar snacks that always seem to disappear...
I like to do a little exploring when I'm in a new place - I get a feel for the culture and sometimes I can even learn something new. I enjoy trying activities like a day tour on a bike, or paddle boarding to a more remote snorkeling spot. These non-motorized outings can often lead you to locations that many people don't get to see and really add to the beauty of the place you are visiting. Hidden gems are hard to find, but of you are willing to put in a little work, the locals will show you why their home is such a special place. Try this - make a one to one trade - if you rent jet skis, then next you are going to try windsurfing. You won't regret trying something new.
Hit The Road!
This summer, take a trip and get away from it all. Just don't come home with work to do to get back to where you were before you left. Proper food choices, staying hydrated, and getting a couple of short work out sessions a day in can all come together to making it your best trip ever. Just remember...Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen.
This blog was created to provide information as it relates to skin, body and food health.