6 reasons to consider fasting

Well folks, it’s been exactly one month since I began a 5 day water-only fast. I waited to tell you about this experience so I can also include post-fast details…or maybe just because it is soccer season. Anyway, who cares?! Here it is.

Six reasons why you should experience the magic of a supervised water-only fast:

1. The post-detox glow
Really, it’s much more than a glow. It’s a sensational feeling. Fasting cleans out the whole system. It revitalizes and rejuvenates. It also removes you from the daily grind. Normally, I’m caught up in the chaos of family life…so the lack of schedule felt amazing. Meditation and journaling filled my days. Between lectures and cooking demos, I bathed in the California sunshine. After 5 days of fasting I felt pure, refreshed, relaxed…and SO ready to eat! Have I told you how much I love to eat?!IMG_8720_WEB.jpg

See…after five days of fasting and three days of glorious food, here I am all glowing and stuff! 

2. Discover what you body can do
Shortly after paying my deposit to visit TrueNorth, my excitement turned to, “What the heck did I just sign up for?” As I scavenged through the pantry between meals, I wondered how I’d make it through five whole days with NO FOOD! I reassured myself by reading studies and articles about the benefits of fasting. I read about tumors shrinking, diabetes disappearing and high blood pressure dropping. I learned about autophagy- where your body starts to consume dysfunctional or diseased cells…yes please! Who doesn’t want their body to repair and clean itself? During the fast, I spoke with people with health problems who were fasting much longer than my measly 5 days. So I sucked it up and made a commitment to my health.

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I came across this instagram post (above, center) while I was fasting…just what I needed to read while surrounded by only water.

 

3. Reset and Cleanse
Doing a “cleanse” seems to be what all my health-conscious peers rave about…and for good reason. Interrupting your normal routine to focus on clearing out the junk is always a good idea. I’ve done a couple variations of this. Sometimes it means downing green smoothies twice a day. Often it includes avoiding dairy, wheat, sugar and caffeine. In the case of fasting, nothing goes down the drain except clean water, so those pipes will be shiny and clean! And afterward, you get all these beautiful juices to restart your system!

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4. Health immersion
Several days at TrueNorth will help you reprogram your brain and taste buds. You become educated and empowered to make better choices! Bad nutrition information is everywhere…eat this, not that. But it’s hard to know what is fact and what is crap. So much of our “food” comes from big businesses who market the “health benefits” so they can sell us junk we don’t need. At TrueNorth, each day you have access to doctors, interns and cooking gurus who can answer your questions plus twice daily lectures on various health topics (posture, sleep, nutrition, oh my!). I found myself overwhelmed with ideas; luckily I brought my trusty journal to jot it all down. IMG_8601_WEB.jpg

5. Take aways
Absolutely the best reason to visit TrueNorth Health is for the life-changing tools, education and inspiration you take home. My whole family is benefiting from what I learned…mostly because I’m responsible for groceries and cooking. Also because I talk about what I learned. And I’m offering them all the nutrient-dense foods from my new cookbooks (I’m sure they’ll thank me later when they have strong, healthy bodies and glowing skin)!

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Post-fast adaptations: 
First, there was the coffee. I didn’t drink it for 9 days while at TrueNorth and I felt great. So why would I reintroduce it?!

Then the food. It hasn’t changed much, but I pay more attention to nutrition information and I have cut out some crap.

Next went the late night snacking…right out the window. Poof! Well, it wasn’t that easy. But I learned the benefits of extending the time between dinner and breakfast. So each evening when I get bored and feel the urge to snack, I just remember the healing that will take place when I give my body a chance to rest. And I know I will sleep better if I limit evening consumption.

Next went the alcohol. Now, I’m not saying I’ll never have a drink again…but I haven’t had the desire to drink alcohol since leaving TrueNorth. Kind of like the coffee…do I really need it?! Not sure yet. Check in with me later.

Last, and most important. I pay more attention. I pay attention to how I treat my body. I pay attention to my sleep schedule and how it makes me feel. I am mindful about creating a self-care routine. I take long baths. I read books that make me laugh. I blast feel-good music in the car with the windows down. I pay attention to myself so I can be a better mom, so I can be responsive and not reactive. I am here, in the present, taking it one breath at a time. Living the best life that I can.

I’m not looking to add years to my life, but I will add life to my years.

Pack lunch…like a boss!

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Well, lazy summer days are over and we are back to chauffeuring kids to sports, attending school events, running bedtime marathons and…lunch packing!

I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but food can make or break the education experience…so it’s worth the effort.

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It’s important to take the time to pack a nutritious lunch for our little humans, because…

  • Your kids are worth it! They deserve good food.
  • Real, nutritious food nourishes the brain so that it can perform optimally.
  • Kids who eat well perform better academically.
  • Processed foods or foods full of sugar can negatively impact their mood & behavior.
  • Real, whole foods can help them succeed in school by keeping them satiated and not distracted by afternoon hunger.
  • Good food can keep kids healthy…so they don’t miss school and you don’t miss work.
  • What about ADHD? You can decrease ADHD symptoms and increase their ability to focus with the right food and exercise.

and…because you love them!

Try these nutritious lunch options:

  • hummus and veggies
  • apple slices with almond butter
  • nuts and dried berries
  • fresh fruit
  • chia pudding

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I know, it’s time consuming to pack a healthier lunch. Here’s how I make it simpler: chop fruits and veggies right when you get home from grocery shopping, then place them in serving size containers in the fridge. Just grab a few containers, throw it in the lunchbox and voila! Lunch-packing might be done only 1-2 times per week this way.

Or make the lunch while you are making dinner. If you are already chopping and making a mess of the kitchen, why not go ahead and put some of those veggies in a lunch box?

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Your kids are worth it! Fuel them with real, whole food.

Oatmeal Parfait

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but seriously, how do we get out the door on time with everything we need for the day and have time to make breakfast?!

Personally, I’m a smoothie person. I throw stuff in a blender, pour it in a few cups and hand them out. It’s easy. I also feel peace of mind knowing that the kids have all the nutrients they need to perform optimally at school.

But…some days I actually want to sit down and chew on something. The problem is, I am NOT a morning person. I am not interested in getting up earlier to cook.

So, here is one of my simple solutions for the morning rush. Oatmeal parfaits!

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I make these on the weekend or while I’m making dinner, since I’m already destroying the kitchen.

It’s pretty simple. Cook steel cut oats. Layer in jars with your favorite fruit. Throw it in the fridge for a rainy day.

This one has dried blueberries and fresh sliced bananas. I love to add chia seeds, a scoop of almond butter and almond milk too. You can eat it cold or heat for a minute or so.

Now you might think to yourself, “Gosh I can just buy those cute little packages of flavored instant oatmeal.” Well, if you don’t care about your health, be my guest. But it’s totally worth the extra trouble of making your own oatmeal parfaits instead.

Why not instant?

Oats are a healthy breakfast option because they are full of protein, fiber and other nutrients. Unfortunately, those cute little instant packets have been processed (to death) and someone thought it’d be clever to add a bunch of junk you don’t need, like gobs of sugar. That’s a great marketing strategy, but a terrible health strategy. Don’t eat that crap!

Adventures in Aeroponics | Part One

Gardening is not my thing. I can’t even keep a houseplant alive. But I’ve always wanted to grow my own food…so when I found the Tower Garden, I knew it was the right solution for me. No weeds, no pests, no mess.

I didn’t realize that my kids would be excited about this too!

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When the garden arrived, I couldn’t even get my hands on the box. My kids were all over it. They did all of the setup themselves. It’s simple!

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The kids came to the store with me to pick out seeds. My priority is to grow a few things that I regularly use for dinner like basil, cilantro, kale and tomatoes. I let the kids pick the rest…so we are sprouting things like pumpkin, canteloupe, purple beans, cucumber and poppy flower. This should be interesting…I’ll let you know when I have a pumpkin in my house!

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The kids started the sprouts in this handy little container and enjoyed checking each morning to see the changes. The lettuce was the first to sprout, but the beans were the quickest to grow reaching about 12 inches in a couple weeks!

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Kids have a natural curiousity and love a new endeavor. From this experience, they have an understanding of seed growth that they couldn’t get from a textbook. They have developed a sense of pride watching their plants come to life. I can’t wait until they can eat their creations too!

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Learn about the Tower Garden system.

 

Fuel your young athlete

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I’m watching my daughter play soccer and notice that her energy dwindling by the minute. The night before she stayed at a friend’s house, ate a bunch of “slumber party” food and didn’t have a great breakfast. As a nutritionist, I immediately see the connection between her recent food choices, lack of proper hydration and her waning energy. It’s not the first time I’ve made this mistake, but I know that as she gets more competitive I have to teach her that if she wants optimal performance, she need optimal nutrition. 2016-sept-s-165_WEB.jpg

So, what should our young athletes be eating before a game?

Athletes love to talk about protein, but there is so much more to sports nutrition. Sure, protein is important, but the aerobic energy system needs carboydrates and fats! It’s not desirable to use protein as an energy source because the body needs to use it later to rebuild and repair.

To perform optimally, the body needs macronutrients (protein, carboydrates and fat) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macronutrients are important for energy and growth. Micronutrients enhance our mental and physical functioning…which is key to competition! Micronutrients do lots of other amazing jobs like support the nervous system, help with the energy process, repair DNA and reduce oxidative stress.

So, enough science, what should I feed my young athlete?

  • Fruits and vegetables are always a good idea! They will provide complex carbohydrates (the good carbs), lots of micronutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants. They also provide an extra source of water…a win win!
  • Nuts and seeds are a nutritional wonder! Full of healthy fats, protein, micronutrients and antioxidants, they can be a perfect little packable fuel…and they won’t melt in the car. Sweet!
  • Beans and legumes are inexpensive and full of protein, fiber and other amazing plant power.

It’s simple, eat a variety of real food. Think about fueling them with good nutrients, not filling them with processed food that could slow them down.

Before the game:
A good meal about 2 hours before is ideal. This gives the body time to process the food. Keep in mind, while the body is digesting, it uses a significant amount of blood. Therefore, less blood is available to go to the limbs and muscles. You really don’t want to be digesting a big meal when you are sprinting toward the ball!

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! I know you all bring water for your child to drink during the game, but what about before? It’s important to hydrate before the game so that the water is available to transport nutrients to muscles. Water also helps regulate the body’s temperature. It can help keep your body warm during a frigid Spring soccer game or keep your body cool during a hot July baseball game.

Refrain from processed or sugary snack and drinks. Processed food can make the body slugglish and it’s usually so dry that you need to drink another glass of water to digest it. Keep it simple, eat real food!

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During the event: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Did you catch that?! The most important thing you can put in the body during an event is water. If the competition is 60 minutes or less, your young athlete really does’t need snacks or sports drinks to make it through. They just need enough water to replace what was lost in sweat. If they are involved in intense physical activity for over 60 minutes, they might need some carbohydrates for energy. I’m not talking about pasta here…a serving of fruit will better accomplish the task.
*if you child has an illness such as diabetes, these guidelines may not apply (seek your doctor’s advice)

After the event: Chilled fruit is a great snack to restore the body’s carbohydrate supply and it’s refreshing! I also love nuts for a quick dose of fat and protein. A replenishing meal is ideal…you know, that real food we talked about earlier? It’s best to refuel with a good meal after the game, but if it’s a couple hours until dinner time, pack a healthy snack for the ride home.

Everyday nutrition also has an effect on sports performance. A good overall diet can help muscles to repair themselves, can reduce the oxidative stress from high intensity exercise and can prevent illness. Who wants to miss practice because they are stuck on the couch recovering from an illness?

As the lovely Dr David Phillips says, “Optimal performance is driven by optimal health!” I full heartedly agree!

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detox. every day.

Detoxifying our bodies is not something we should think about once a year.

Since we are exposed to toxins from the environment every day, we should help our bodies detox every single day.

So…how do you detox every day?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

Load up on plants. to put it simply, plants help extract the bad crap that’s getting stuck in your body.

Here is a simple smoothie that is one of my favorites:

gobs of spinach
apple
banana
cinnamon
water

blend. pour. enjoy.

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Today I enjoyed my spinach smoothie in my Grandfather’s mug…which I’m sure he used for some other type of beverage, but it’s just the right size!

I hope you enjoy this simple smoothie as much as I do.

Cheers!

Reset

It’s a new year and I’m pretty damn excited to start fresh.

The end of 2016 included some traumatic events. My son broke his leg in a ski accident our first day on the slopes this season. At the same time, I was watching my admirable grandmother suffer through her final days and lose the fight to cancer. It’s been painful and exhausting.

These experiences have given me some valuable perspective.

I feel thankful for my health. I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted. Ever again.

So this year I want to focus on living well. And I want to share this experience with you.

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Let’s create a life with:

more love, less stuff

more social, less media

more card games, less screen time

more real food, less processed

more adventures, less hoarding

more coffee dates, less text messages

 

What will your life be about this year? What do you want to create this year?