WHY I'M INCORPORATING MEAT INTO MY DIET AGAIN

UMMM WHAT?! 

I'm not going to lie to you guys, this is a blog post I didn't ever think I would write and it took me over 2 weeks of eating meat secretly to actually decide if I was going to open up about this to you all in this kind of a way. I guess before I get into why I'm doing it I should probably acknowledge the fact that I am very aware of the fact that during my hard core plant based phase last year I wrote a blog post explaining why I don't think that people should be eating meat - I know I know I'm kind of being a hypocrite.. but at least I'm being honest and real with you guys, right??

I had a hard time even admitting to myself at first (let alone to Mike and my family) that this was what I needed to do, but I know it is and I know that those of you who support me because you truly love me and the content that I put out will support me regardless. So with that being said, let's start at the beginning so that I can fully explain myself..

MY PLANT BASED PHASE

I started really informing myself about the plant based movement last year. I followed tons of vegan influencers and bloggers, read the books and watched all the documentaries on animal agriculture and veganism. I finally decided to pull the trigger and give it a shot in November of last year, I cut out all animal products, meat and dairy and started eating a strictly plant based diet and my energy levels improved almost immediately but unfortunately that was VERY short lived (like it maybe lasted a month). I started to notice that I was starving all the time, I was exhausted, my skin was flaring up, I had a longer recovery time from my workouts, my joints cracked more often and I just didn't feel like I was thriving at all.. I honestly felt like shit a lot of the time.

I was so confused as to why I was feeling so crappy because I was constantly hearing all of these plant based bloggers claim that they have never felt better and are totally thriving on a vegan diet, I didn't get it and it made me feel even worse because I felt like I was failing. Not only that, but I felt so restricted by my new found way of eating and my old disordered eating habits started to slowly creep back in. I would say no to social events because I was worried that nothing would fit my dietary needs, Mike and I barely went out for food (which we love doing) because I couldn't eat anything "normal" and if we did go out I made him go to a vegan restaurant which he didn't always hate but he rarely loved or I had to modify the shit out of anything that I ordered at a normal restaurant. I started to let myself be controlled by the "plant based" label that I had given myself and  not only was it triggering my old ways of thinking but it was making me miserable.

PESCATARIANISM

I was about 3.5 months into my plant based journey and feeling beyond run down when I realized that I was suffering from all of my current hormonal imbalances and because of my nutrition education I knew I had to make a change to my diet to try and get myself back on track. I started adding free range eggs and wild local fish back into my diet a couple times per week and I immediately started to feel a little better. My energy was better and I actually felt satiated after I ate for the first time in months and stayed full for longer, but I still didn't feel totally 100%.

I was also getting very sick of eating salmon and eggs so often - like there is only times in a week that you can eat the same thing before you don't even want to think about it anymore and I was getting to that point.

TRANSITIONING BACK

Fast forward 3 months to July, I'm literally in the thick of dealing with my hormonal imbalances and have had zero success - if you follow me on instagram you know how hard this has been on me. I've literally been doing anything and everything in my power to try and support and heal my body and one of the things I have been doing is reading and researching a TON of different opinions and options. I recently picked up the book The WomanCode and it basically made me do a full 180 on my diet. In the book it talks about the importance of blood sugar management which I have always had a pretty good handle on but it also explains the importance of limiting certain carbohydrates and focusing on high quality animal proteins to balance hormones and ideally get your period back - which is obviously my goal! 

I didn't just jump back into eating meat after reading the book though, I honestly took a couple of weeks to think about if this was something that I really wanted to try doing and weighed out all of my options because I definitely don't take this lightly at all

But I knew deep down that I needed to do this in order to support my body properly and get my hormones back on track.

EATING MEAT FOR THE FIRST TIME

Okay I'll admit that I was kind of scared to eat meat for the first time again, I had no idea what to expect and didn't even really remember what it tasted like to be honest. I didn't plan it and didn't rush it but about 2 weeks ago I got this overwhelming craving for a legitimate burger. All I wanted was a lamb burger, I thought about it every day for a week and couldn't believe that I was actually craving meat for the first time in 11 months! So I went for it, I bought ground free range, hormone and antibiotic free pasture raised lamb and made burgers for dinner and I honestly felt so good after! I didn't feel nauseas or crampy or anything negative like I had assumed I would after going so long without it and I was SHOCKED. Not only that but I actually felt AMAZING, I wasn't bloated like I usually am when I eat a more plant based meal, my stomach was still flat, I was so satisfied and actually felt full.

HOW I'M FEELING NOW

I thought that the transition back would be a lot harder than it's been but I'm honestly feeling so good! I think that because I am a lot more educated now on the kinds of meat I'm eating and I'm in touch with my actual intentions as to why I'm eating it has made it a lot easier and makes me feel a lot better about it. I'm eating good quality free range lamb or turkey, wild local fish or pasture raised eggs once a day or every other day and I already notice a huge difference in my body and how I'm feeling. My energy levels are a lot more stable, my skin is looking a lot better, the bags under my eyes have lightened and I actually feel full after my meals. I've also noticed that I'm recovering from my workouts a lot quicker and I'm able to push harder during them as well, I've also leaned out a lot in the last couple of weeks since incorporating meat back in and my muscle is increasing (I have a body scan scale that tells me percentages so I can track it)!

If I'm being honest I don't think that I'll ever eat chicken, beef or pork again just because it doesn't resonate with me AT ALL - chicken makes me want to gag, cows are my favourite animal and I held a baby piglet last year so I just don't think I could do it. Plus those are three of the most mass produced animals in the world and I don't feel comfortable contributing to the demand of that. So (for now at least) I will stick to lamb and turkey from small local farms and of course free range eggs and wild local fish either from the farmers market or caught by one of my family friends.

I've come to realize that eating meat doesn't have to be so black and white and can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet long as you avoid processed, mass produced and conventional meats and go for local, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats!

I hope that the takeaway that you get from this is that just because a diet works for you for a certain period of time does not mean that it will work or has to work for you forever. We are constantly changing and evolving and I think that that is a beautiful thing. Labels and restriction of any kind can often lead to resentment of your way of life and yourself and if any of you ever feel yourself getting to that point I strongly urge you to reevaluate what you're doing and whether or not it's working for you. Always do you and listen to your body, it knows what it needs and will never steer you wrong. 

xo - LU

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS

vitamin.jpg

The nutrition world can be a confusing place, there are so many trends and fads and different opinions on what's "right" and "wrong". What one influencer or nutritionist may say is beneficial another might say should be avoided entirely - it's a lot to take in! Things get even more confusing when you add supplements into the mix, there are thousands of different kinds of supplements available, there is quite literally a supplement for everything these days. So how do you know what's a scam, what's legit and what's actually right for your lifestyle and your body?

Supplements are meant to do exactly what the name suggests - supplement any gaps in your diet. In other words, you can't eat like crap but pop a multivitamin and assume everything is going to balance itself out - it just doesn't work like that. Supplements are also meant to prevent nutrient deficiencies, which is something that is becoming more and more common as the standard western diet shifts towards processed, fast foods and away from nutrient dense, whole foods. Nutrient deficiencies are hard on your body, cause damage to DNA and RNA, cause quicker aging, contribute to chronic disease, cause fatigue and if severe enough can even lead to premature death.. crazy right?

Nutrients from food are more bioavailable, meaning that our body is able to digest, absorb and use them better than the synthetic version that comes from a pill. The majority of the nutrients that your body needs can and should come from food, but there are certain times where even the healthiest of diets might not be providing every single nutrient that our body's need..

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU NEED TO SUPPLEMENT?

  1. If you eat a "western" diet (aka processed, packaged, fried and fast foods) with minimal fresh fruit or vegetables - most of these foods are full of unhealthy fats, conventional dairy, toxins, pesticides, hormones and chemicals, all of which are inflammatory and cause oxidative damage in the body.
  2. If you rarely buy organic produce - conventional produce is commonly grown in depleted soil and with depleted water with pesticides and fertilizers, making it low in vitamins, minerals and nutrients and high in toxic chemicals.
  3. If you eat a "low-calorie" diet - 9 out of 10 times low calorie means low nutrient, when you restrict your energy intake you are also restricting yourself of key micronutrients that your body needs which leads to malnourishment.
  4. If you exercise regularly - when you exercise you are using energy which creates an increased demand for nutrients to keep up with energy production during and after exercise and to help speed up recovery.
  5. If you are above the age of 35 - as we age our hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme production declines which makes it difficult for the body to break down and absorb nutrients from food.
  6. If you eat grain or soy fed, non organic meat, farmed fish and conventional dairy - grain/soy fed meat is low in antioxidants, micronutrients, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, farmed fish is high in mercury and generally accumulates the wrong kinds of fatty acids and conventional dairy is high in aflatoxin and other mycotoxins as well as synthetic hormones and even blood and puss from the cows. 
  7. If you work somewhere that uses toxic chemicals (even cleaning chemicals) - nutrients and antioxidants fight free radical damage caused by toxins so when you are exposed to toxins on a daily basis your body naturally requires more nutrients to help fight damage. 
  8. If you are recovering from an operation or illness - during recovery your body is using all of its available nutrients and energy to support the healing process so your body requires increased amounts of most nutrients. 
  9. If you have recently taken antibiotics or synthetic birth control pills - synthetic pills like these deplete nutrients.

WHICH NUTRIENTS TO SUPPLEMENT & WHY

Okay this is the part that most people get confused by because there are so many options so what the heck should you be taking? Before I jump into it I want to first say that before you run out and buy all of these or start any new supplements in general please please PLEASE do your own research first and make sure that you know what you are taking and why you are taking it.

I've put together a list of the top nutrients that are most often deficient in the common western diet and are also the most important to overall health. I'm in no way saying that you need to be supplementing all or any of these but if you feel like your diet or lifestyle might be leaving you deficient in one or more nutrients or are looking for more information this is a good place to start!

  • Vitamin A - is an important cofactor for so many metabolic reactions and bodily functions and is also a powerful antioxidant which help protect against free radical damage and helps maintain brain function, skin, heart, kidneys, lungs, vision, and immune system health.
  • Vitamin C - (the most rapidly used and excreted nutrient in the body) produces glutathione which is the most powerful antioxidant in the body and helps protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and is also needed for collagen and connective tissue formation.
  • Vitamin D - acts on over 1,000 different genes and serves as a substrate for sex hormones it also helps maintain healthy bones and teeth and protects against cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Vitamin K2 - protects the arteries from calcification by promoting calcium metabolism which reduces the risk of bone loss and cardiovascular disease. 
  • Calcium  - needed to help build and maintain strong bones and works in synergy with Vitamin D to protect against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. (should be taken with Magnesium to prevent a deficiency)
  • Magnesium - used in over 300 enzymatic processes, including all of those involved in ATP energy production and is also necessary for proper transcription of DNA and RNA. (should be taken with Calcium to prevent a deficiency)
  • Iodine - important for proper thyroid function and metabolism, helps convert thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), enhances immune function and prevents brain damage.
  • Copper - supports cardiovascular function (should be taken with zinc to prevent a deficiency)
  • Zinc - supports healthy immune function, energy production and mood (should be taken with copper to prevent a deficiency)
  • Omega 3/EPA & DHA - reduces inflammation, improves brain function, supports healing
  • Probiotics - feeds good gut bacteria and supports healthy gut flora and digestion.
  • B Complex - the B vitamins are needed in over 1000 different bodily processes!
  • Folate - supports heart health and the nervous system and decrease risk of birth defects. (should be taken with B12 to prevent a deficiency)
  • B12 - (is one of the most commonly deficient nutrients) protects against dementia, increases immune function, maintains nerves, regenerates cells, lowers homocysteine, protects against atherosclerosis and reduces the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease. (should be taken with Folate to prevent a deficiency)

WHAT I TAKE AND WHY

Before I tell you everything that I take on a daily basis, I want to make it clear that these are what work for MY BODY, MY CURRENT HEALTH CONCERNS, MY GOALS AND MY LIFESTYLE and that you do not need to take all or any of these to be healthy! I also want to reinforce that unless you have done your research and know that something will work for your body please don't run to your nearest health food store and pick up my entire supplement regime. 

That being said I ave educated myself through my schooling and my own research on exactly which forms, brands and types and have carefully selected and testes each of these supplements to make sure they are the highest quality, easiest to take, most bioavailable to the body and also don't completely break the bank. I have included a Canadian amazon affiliate link to each supplement for you guys so if you do think that one may be right for you you can easily order it! 

  • Probiotic - I take a probiotic specifically for women with 50 billion live strains of bacteria for optimal gut health and digestion - I take this one
  • Vitamin C 1000mg - I take a high dose vitamin c that also has rose hip extract which is also very high in vitamin c and good for fighting colds - I take this one
  • Calcium Magnesium & D3 - I take a combination supplement for all three of these minerals as they need to be supplemented together and this is the easiest and most absorbable form one I have found - I take this one
  • B Complex - I take a Megafood's food grade B Complex because all B vitamins come from plant based foods and taking a food grade supplement is the most bioavailable way to take it to ensure that the body absorbs and uses all of it - I take this one
  • Iron - This helps maintain healthy red blood cells and iron levels in the blood - I take this one
  • Fish oil - I take a liquid fish oil that contains 1000mg of EPA & 500mg of DHA which is the perfect ratio to consume of essential fatty acids - I take this one
  • Vitex - also known as Chasteberry, I take this to help regulate my menstrual cycle which if you have followed me for a while you know is non existent - I take this one
  • Adrenal Support - I take Megafood's Adrenal Strength to help support my adrenals because they are VERY fatigued. This supplement is food grade to it is easily absorbed and used by the body and contains the adaptogens Ashwagandha, Schizandra Berry, Holy Basil, Cultivated American Ginseng, and Astragalus Root - I take this one or this Lorna Vanderhaeghe one which is also really good quality but is not food grade.
  • B12 - I take B12 once a week because the only animal products I consume are wild fish, pasture raised eggs and collagen peptides - I take this one
  • Digestive Enzymes - I take these with every meal when I'm on vacation, out at a restaurant or when I feel like my digestion needs a little bit of extra help - I take this one 
  • Fermented Vegan Protein Powder - I take a fermented vegan protein because it is easier to digest, does not bloat me and is more bioavailable to the body because of the fermentation - I take this one
  • Fermented Vegan BCAA's - I take these when I am doing a heavier strength training day in the gym to promote muscle repair, reduce muscle soreness and increase muscle synthesis - I take this one
  • Fermented Vegan L-Glutamine - I take this every day to help strengthen my gut lining and improve digestion - I take this one 
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - I wrote an entire blog post on why I take collagen every day (read it all here) - I take this one
  • VegeGreens Powder - I‘ve been starting every morning with a scoop of these vegegreens to help support my liver detoxification to help balance my hormone levels, it makes it so easy to get so many different greens, antioxidants and phytonutrients in all at once - I take this one 
  • Megafood Daily Purify - I have taking this first thing every morning (20 minutes before my scoop of vegegreens because bitters need to be taken on their own) to further help support my liver detoxification in an effort to balance my hormones - I take this one

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T CHEAP OUT ON SUPPLEMENTS

Remember when I said that you can't out supplement a crappy diet - well you also can't buy cheap, crappy supplements and expect them to give you the benefits I just listed above either! I know that you're all smart people and most of you probably don't put crappy nutrient depleted food into your body on a daily basis (I hope) because you know it won't serve you. And just like you prioritize the food you eat, you also want to make sure that you're prioritizing your supplements so that you're not pumping your body full of crap!

One of the best pieces of advice that I can give you when it comes to choosing supplements is to always aim for FOOD GRADE when possible! Food grade means that everything in the supplement comes from plant based food sources, our bodies favour nutrients from food over synthetic or processed nutrients that are found in most supplements so food grade supplements are the most bioavailable and easiest for the body to digest and absorb. MegaFood is one of my favourite food grade supplement companies, all of their products are amazing and I 100% trust that what they say you are getting on the package is actually what you're getting. 

PRO TIP

Okay I know that I have probably just totally overwhelmed you with a TON of information but I wanted to give you one last key piece of advice before I let you get on with your day. If you eat a balanced diet, with lots of whole plant foods, quality animal products and minimal processed and packaged food then you most likely do not need to supplement. The exception to that is of course if you have been told by a health care practitioner that you are deficient in a nutrient or that your body needs more of something, then supplementation is probably necessary but don't worry, it won't be forever. Most nutrient deficiencies usually reverse themselves in a few weeks to months with proper diet and supplementation. 

Every nutrient that our body's need can be found in real whole foods and is readily absorbed by the body - always remember that diet comes first and supplements come second.

xo - LU

WHY I'M OBSESSED WITH BULLETPROOF COFFEE

2B910D92-601B-4167-87E4-A26DA3369D8B.jpeg

Coffee is basically my guilty pleasure, I love waking up to the smell of it and I love the taste of it, to me there is something so calming and nostalgic about the whole morning coffee ritual. If I'm being honest, sitting on my couch in my sweatpants, sipping a warm cup of (bulletproof) coffee is one of my favourite parts of my entire day (that and bed time but DUH). What I don't love about coffee though is the quick energy burst, sudden crash, jitters, anxiety, brain fog and sugar (or carb) cravings that leave you reaching for a second (or third) cup just to feel "normal".

That's where bulletproof coffee comes in.. If you haven't been living under a rock for the last couple of years then I'm sure you've heard of bulletproof coffee and if you haven't heard of it then where the heck have you been?! It's time to get with the (bulletproof) program..

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS BULLETPROOF COFFEE? 

Bulletproof coffee is essentially a high quality cup of coffee blended with grass fed butter or ghee (obviously skip this if you're vegan) and MCT oil or Brain Octane Oil (made by the Bulletproof brand). I personally don't add grass fed butter to mine because I don't like eating lactose, I will occasionally add grass fed organic ghee (it's lactose free) but that's rare too. If I don't add ghee (which as I said I rarely do) I just add a little extra MCT oil, full fat coconut milk or coconut butter and it basically does the same thing. I also add a splash of unsweetened nut milk, a dash of cinnamon and 1-2 scoops of collagen peptides to my bulletproof for an added boost of clean protein!

Bulletproof coffee was designed by Dave Asprey owner of Bulletproof to "supercharge brain function and create effortless fat loss with no cravings" and it does just that! On the Bulletproof website they say that their specific brand of coffee beans and Brain Octane Oil are the highest quality and all that you should ever use and while I don't doubt that their quality is great, I personally don't use their products because they're kind of overpriced if I'm being totally real with you (which I always am) and not available very many places in Canada. I still use high quality ingredients, just not theirs specifically and I have experienced all of the same benefits without actually using the Bulletproof brand of products. Proof that you can keep up with the health trends and be healthy without breaking the bank! 

THE HYPE

I'm a one cup of coffee per day kind of girl so you better believe that I'm going to get every benefit that I possibly can from that single cup and bulletproof coffee allows me to get everything and more out of my morning cup of caffeine

The list of benefits that bulletproof coffee provides is LONG but the main ones that I think are actually relevant, important and that I have actually noticed a difference in myself are; 

  • Steady energy that actually lasts - Saturated fat slows the absorption of caffeine which gives you an even and steady energy boost!
  • Balanced hormones - Fatty acids help to promote hormone production and keeps insulin from spiking (and then dropping) which helps keep hormones balanced. 
  • Balanced blood sugar and hunger - Healthy fat satisfies you and balances the hunger hormones ghrelin and CCK - perfect for intermittent fasting!
  • Less cravings - Because of the sustained energy that bulletproof coffee gives, you won't experience any energy or blood sugar crashes which are what actually cause cravings.
  • Mental clarity - MCT oil converts to ketones in the body which are a molecule that the brain uses for energy and prevent blood sugar crashes which cause brain fog.

NOT ALL INGREDIENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Just like you wouldn't put crappy nutrient depleted food into your body on a daily basis you also want to make sure that you're not pumping your body full of crap when it comes to your morning bulletproof coffee! If you cheap out on your ingredients or don't fully follow the tips that I'm about to tell you then the benefits that you get from the bulletproof coffee probably won't be quite as life changing as what I just listed.

The first and most important part is the coffee (duh). That means looking for a coffee that is organic, fair trade and rainforest alliance certified to ensure that you're getting the highest quality possible! The common sugar and (more) coffee cravings that come after a cup of coffee are actually not from the coffee itself but from what is on the coffee during growing, processing and after it's packaged. Conventional coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed and fumigated crops in the world, they are also very susceptible to mold and the mycotoxins it produces. If you are buying conventional and low grade coffee you're essentially just paying for beans coated in toxins and mold that promote energy crashes and cravings. Not totally ideal right?

Next lets get into the fat.. My favourite bulletproof fat is MCT oil - MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are a type of saturated fat that pack a serious health punch. MCTs are beneficial to the gut because they help combat bad bacteria, they are also anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. The caffeine naturally occurring in coffee helps transport the MCTs through the blood/brain barrier to be sent directly to your liver where they have a thermogenic effect, help to raise metabolism and are burned by the body for fuel instead of being stored as fat! Because MCT oil is a fat it is also beneficial in balancing hormone levels, keeps you satiated and balances blood sugar. Coconut oil is one of the best sources of MCTs - around 65 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are actually MCTs and the actual MCT oil that you can purchase is basically just a super concentrated coconut oil, so if you're in a pinch you can just add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your bulletproof - it won't provide quite the same amount of MCTs but it will still give you a small dose. PRO TIP: MCT oil has a very quick acting natural laxative effect, so if you've never used MCT oil before it's important to START SLOW (start with 1 tsp and increase by 1 tsp per day working up to 1 tbsp) on your first few servings otherwise you're going to find yourself running to the nearest bathroom as fast as you possibly can (trust me). 

If you are adding butter or ghee to your bulletproof it's important that you use one that is grass fed and organic! Grass fed butter is higher in butyrate a powerful short chain fatty acid that helps prevent and decrease inflammation, it's also high in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E, and antioxidants! PRO TIP: You can tell a butter is grass fed because of the bright yellow colour, conventional butter is a dull pale yellow colour because it comes from nutrient depleted, sick cows. 

As I said before I also like to add Vital Proteins collagen peptides  to my bulletproof coffee which is not something that the actual Bulletproof brand promotes but as you guys know I'm not one to follow rules so why start now. Collagen is one of my favourite supplements so I try to add it whenever I can to whatever I can, it helps protect and strengthen the lining of the gut, provides a clean boost of protein that mixes well (unlike protein powder) and makes my bulletproof coffee SO frothy - if you follow me on Instagram you know my obsession with the froth is REAL. If you want to know more about collagen I wrote an entire post on the benefits (read that here)! I also add a splash of unsweetened nut milk because I like more of a latte style coffee and a dash of cinnamon for it's anti-inflammatory benefits and for flavour! PRO TIP: you are NOT supposed to add sweetener of any kind - yes even honey - to your bulletproof because then you're adding a simple carb and cancelling out the blood sugar balancing and fat burning benefits! I also usually like to add a superfood like Maca, Ashwaghanda, Cacao, etc. depending on what mood I'm in!

MY GO TO BULLETPROOF COFFEE RECIPE

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1 mug of organic, fair trade coffee OR Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee  

1 tbsp MCT oil - start with 1 tsp and work your way up by adding 1 tsp more every day

1 tbsp organic coconut butter or grass fed ghee

1-2 scoops original collagen peptides  

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 

dash of cinnamon 

1 tsp Maca powder - or superfood of your choice 

HOW TO:

1. Pour all ingredients in your blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds, let it sit for 30 seconds to allow the frothy goodness to settle and then pour into your mug and enjoy!

I will say that just like everything else in life, bulletproof coffee isn't for everyone (Mike hates it), it's definitely an acquired taste and takes some getting used to for sure, especially if you've spent your entire life drinking regular cups of coffee but it truly is a game changer! If you try my recipe don't forget to use the hashtag #holisticallywholesome on instagram so I can see your recreations and if you found this post helpful please spread the love and share it with your people! 

xo - LU

INTUITIVE EATING UPDATE

snacks.jpg

Intuitive eating has quite literally changed my life, I actually was just thinking to myself the other day how I haven't had a "cheat meal" in over 8 months because I don't see any food as a "cheat" anymore - food is just food to me now. That alone is a HUGE deal because I used to obsess over every little thing that I put in my body, I weighed and counted and tracked everything - it was horrible. I would allow myself "cheat meals" and then I would beat myself up over it the entire next day and tell myself that I had to workout for longer to "work off the extra calories" WTF right! Because of intuitive eating I don't see foods as black and white anymore, there are no "good" or "bad" foods, yes I know that some foods are more nutrient dense than others and I tend to gravitate towards those nutrient dense foods 90% of the time because they make me feel good and I actually enjoy them. But I don't feel bad if I want a glass of wine, a cookie (or 3), sushi, yam fries or all of the above. I have zero restriction and feel zero guilt now towards food and it feels fucking amazing.

Intuitive eating is like freeing yourself from a toxic relationship. Just think of dieting as the bad boy you used to crush on in high school.. You know the one who you kept coming back to even though he’d totally play with your emotions and leave you super unsatisfied (in more ways than one) yeah that one. You’d tell yourself you weren’t going to see him anymore (dieting and restriction) but then sure enough he’d text you, you’d try to talk yourself out of seeing him and tell yourself that you were in control but you’d cave eventually (aka eat the restricted foods). See when you diet and restrict yourself of foods because you’ve labeled them as “bad” you’re just allowing those foods to have control over you. Suddenly you’re craving and giving in to foods (or men - no judgement) that you didn’t even think you liked that much to begin with but because they're "off limits" to you your brain wants them even more. When you remove the labels of “good” or “bad” from food and just listen to your body the cravings go away because you don’t think of anything as "off limits" - kind of like as soon as that bad boy you wanted wants you back he suddenly isn't so attractive anymore right?

When I first ditched my food scale and started intuitive eating 10 months ago (read more about my transition HERE) trying to figure out my hunger cues and my body seemed next to impossible. I had tracked (and obsessed over) my food intake for so long that I literally had no idea how to listen to my body. I was nervous and uncertain and my new "intuitive" food choices took me so long to make that I didn't feel like I was making any progress whatsoever. It took a long time for me to get to where I am now and I'm still not perfect (no one is) sometimes I think a little too hard over what I'm going to eat and question what it might do to my body a little too much but those thoughts are few and far between for the most part and on a good day it usually takes me a maximum of 60 seconds to decide on what I'm going to eat now - unless I'm out to eat but thats just because I'm indecisive and I want one of everything (HA). 

BEHIND THE SCENES OF INTUITIVE EATING

I thought that I would share what a normal day of intuitive eating looks like for me because I get asked what I eat in a day all the time. Every day is obviously different and my schedule is pretty all over the place lately but I tend to stick to some basics and just change up certain things here and there so my meals don't actually really change too much from day to day! 

MONDAY AKA TODAY

Now that it's light out earlier I have been waking up at around 5:45-6am naturally which is both a blessing and a curse because productivity is at an all time high but your girl also loves sleep. I take my temperature to track my fertility, wash my face with warm water right and then I meditate for 10-20 minutes depending on how I'm feeling.

Then I head to the kitchen and make myself a big mug of warm lemon water, I juice half a lemon and fill half of my mug with filtered room temperature water and half with boiling water. Next it's time for caffeine, I have been rotating between matcha and coffee but regardless of which one I pick I always make my caffeine bulletproof and my recipe is always the same; beverage of choice, 2 tsp MCT oil, 1 tsp coconut butter, 1.5 scoops of vital proteins collagen, splash of unsweetened cashew milk (I don't measure I just pour until it looks creamy), 1 tsp raw honey and a dash of cinnamon - then I blend for 30 seconds on low in my ninja and head to my laptop to get some work done before I go workout.

I like to workout fasted so I rarely eat before 10am anymore, but when I'm home from my workout I am HUNGRY so do not try to get between me and the kitchen. Monday is always leg day for me at the gym so I usually gravitate towards something more carbohydrate dense because I am 10/10 starving after I work legs but today I was feeling a smoothie so I had a smoothie (yay for intuitive eating)! My smoothie today had (get ready for a long ass list); 1.5 cups unsweetened cashew milk, ice, 1/2 of a frozen banana, 2 cups spinach, frozen steamed sweet potato, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 tsp each of four sigmatic superfood mushroom blend and hydration blend, 1 scoop of vital proteins dark chocolate & blackberry collagen peptides, 1/2 scoop organic chocolate vegan protein powder, cinnamon, 1.5 tbsp of peanut butter! I don't have smoothies for weight loss or to cut calories, my smoothies are super nutrient dense and contain the same amount of calories as a normal meal - no hanger for this girl!

My smoothie held me over for a good 4 hours which was perfect because I was out o the house shooting some content! Lunch was a huge salad with mixed lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers 1/2 a roasted sweet potato, black beans, 1/2 of an avocado, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast and a dressing of balsamic vinegar and dijon. It was super yummy and satisfying, like I said before my body craves this kind of food because it makes me feel good and because I don't have any restrictions so there is no right or wrong way to eat to me anymore!

At around 3:30 I started to feel kind fo hungry so I made a little snack. I had half of an organic banana, a spoonful (or 2 or 3 but who's counting) of raw almond butter, a handful of sea salted pistachios and a piece of my freezer fudge.

Dinner tonight is a perfect example of why intuitive eating is the best thing ever, it's Mike's moms birthday and we are going out for dinner to celebrate - something that would've scared the literal shit out of me in the past. Last year I would have (and probably did) pre checked the menu to see what I could modify and order or I would have restricted myself all day to "make up" for what I really wanted to eat at dinner. I would have been so stressed all day and wouldn't have been able to appreciate or enjoy my loved ones or celebrate her properly. Food controlled my life, I missed out on so many opportunities and events because I didn't know ho to cope with not eating perfectly and I lost out on so many memories. Looking back I can't believe I was ever that blind to my craziness, I can't even imagine missing out on something because of food - food is the best thing ever and memories are so much more important than calories!! So for dinner we went to her favourite sushi restaurant and I ordered; an avocado and cucumber roll with forbidden black rice (so much better than regular rice, if you haven't tried it you HAVE TO) and wild salmon sashimi! 

After dinner we went home to have cake which to be honest I didn't eat because I don't like the way I feel when I eat processed sugar or dairy so I try to stay away from that stuff, it has nothing to do with restricting myself of it though if it was dry free I would have gone to town ( a girl can dream right). I did make a snack tray to munch on for when the bachelorette in on though (judge me I dare you) the snack plate is pictured at the top of this post and it has; dark chocolate, fruit, crackers, hummus and nuts - easy, nutritious and restriction free, just how I like it! I'm going to enjoy the snacks with a glass of wine while I watch (starts at 8pm) which again is something that would've been unheard of for me last year but is now a weekly occurrence because I know that it won't do any harm to my physical progress and will only do good for my mental progress.

MY ADVICE TO YOU

If you are trying to make the switch to intuitive eating and feel lost or unsure just know that that is totally normal and to be expected! The most important piece of advice that I can give you if you are transitioning is that it's okay to not be perfect. Every day is going to be different and come with new challenges and new wins and some days are going to feel better and be easier than others. You just have to accept that you are exactly where you should be in your journey and you are doing the best you can! I can promise you that if you are patient with yourself and allow yourself room to not be perfect and to grow then eventually listening to what your body is telling you and making conscious intuitive decisions will be a piece of cake.. and guess what? You can actually eat that piece of cake if you want to because that's what intuitive eating is all about! 

xo - LU

 

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AF

Okay anti-inflammatory foods are like totally in right now and while yes it is super trendy to be drinking turmeric lattes it's actually also super beneficial to your health. It is becoming increasingly more and more clear that the main cause of so many of the most common diseases (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) is inflammation so it only makes sense that fighting inflammation through nutrition is becoming more and more common.

I for one am all for this trend, power to all of you turmeric latte drinking people!

SO WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?

To get all technical, inflammation by definition is "a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection". Basically it is the body’s healing response, when we experience injury or infection the body acts by bringing more nourishment and more immune activity to the area by sending an increase in blood flow and white blood cells.

Inflammation is a completely healthy response to promote healing in a healthy body, it's in an unhealthy or damaged body that inflammation can become a serious problem. When the immune system overreacts to perceived threats it starts to attack the healthy body tissues (inflammation) which can lead to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders like Lupus, Leaky Gut, Celiac and Arthritis. Lot's of different factors such as; stress, lack of exercise, genes, exposure to toxins (secondhand smoke, chemical fumes, additives in food, etc.) and diet all contribute to chronic inflammation.

FIGHTING INFLAMMATION WITH NUTRITION

The first step in fighting inflammation is removing all of the inflammatory foods from your diet, that means saying goodbye to processed foods, fast foods, processed sugar, salt, inflammatory fats such as canola oil, peanut oil, all processed trans fats and red meat for the most part as well. So go throw your lays potato chips in the garbage and ditch your weekly (nightly??) burger runs (I know it's hard but you'll get through it) and let's get to calming your body the hell down..  

The next step is to start eating food that is as close to it's natural state as possible - this means fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fresh wild fish, pasture raised poultry and eggs and lots of nuts, seeds and legumes.

Including foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids is going to be your next plan of action, this means fatty old water fish like salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, flax oil, cod liver oil, etc. The Omega 3 fatty acids, more specially EPA and DHA are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, they have been used (and have been successful) in treating patients with arthritis, crohns disease, colitis, diabetes and even cancer. So up your healthy fat intake now and thank me in 30 years when you still look and feel like you're in your 20-30's!

Next you want to step your antioxidant game up, antioxidants protect your cells from the effects of free radicals and can help reduce  inflammation in the body. When you're trying to figure out exactly how to include as many antioxidant rich foods as possible just think plants and colour - the more colour that you include on your plate at one time as well as in your diet in the form of whole plant foods is the best way to ensure that you're getting a full spectrum of antioxidants!

TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS

  • LEAFY GREENS - rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
  • BEETS - contain the antioxidant betalain gives them their signature color and is anti-inflammatory, beets help by repairing cells and have high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
  • PINEAPPLE - contains the enzyme bromelain which is powerful anti inflammatory and has shown reduction is heart attack and stroke risk.
  • BOK CHOY - contains over 70 different antioxidant substances. 
  • CELERY - has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as prevent heart disease.
  • BROCCOLI - is high in flavonoids and carotenoids and is high in potassium and magnesium, both of which fight inflammation. 
  • BLUEBERRIES - contain quercetin which is one of the most powerful antioxidants, it fights inflammation and cancer.
  • SALMON - good source of Omega 3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties and lower the risk of chronic disease.
  • COCONUT OIL - contain high levels of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce inflammation, specifically in arthritis. 
  • WALNUTS - protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 
  • CHIA SEEDS - contain high levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which should be consumed in balance to reduce inflammation. They also regulate cholesterol, lower blood pressure and prevent against cardiovascular disease. 
  • FLAX SEEDS - good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, phytonutrients and lignin's which help fight aging, hormonal imbalances and cardiovascular disease. 
  • TURMERIC - contains curcumin which is an active anti-inflammatory property that is more powerful than over the counter medication, it has been used for centuries and was used traditionally in Ayurveda
  • GINGER - ginger has the ability to break down toxins in the organs and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it was also used traditionally in Ayurveda.

MY FAVOURITE ANTI-INFLAMATORY RECIPE

Okay all jokes aside the whole turmeric latte craze is actually a really good one because it makes anti inflammatory foods accessible to tons of people and its actually very easy to make and super tasty. It reduces inflammation, is good for your skin, protects against Alzheimers disease, reduces muscle soreness, it's anti-bacterial and anti-fugal so it fights infection, helps to manage depression, reduces cholesterol and balances blood sugar. Plus it's super calming if you sip on one before bed - do I need to go on?

MY GO TO TURMERIC LATTE

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1 cup unsweetened cashew milk - any plant based milk will work 

1/2 cup filtered water

2 tsp fresh turmeric root - can sub 1 tsp ground turmeric 

1 tsp fresh ginger root - can sub 0.5 tsp ground ginger

pinch of black pepper - believe me when I say a pinch, a little goes a long way but this is 100% NECESSARY when consuming turmeric as it activates the anti-inflammatory properties!!

0.5 tsp cinnamon 

1 tsp raw honey

0.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp coconut butter

HOW TO:

1. Bring water, nut milk and all spices to a simmer in a small sauce pan - do not boil!

2. Simmer on low for 2-4 minutes, then transfer to a blender and add all remaining ingredients.

3. Blend on high for 60 seconds, pour into a mug and get your anti-inflamm on.

With all of the processed foods, chemical exposure, alcohol consumption and stresses in today's society is causing lot of us to suffer from chronic inflammation without even knowing it. Making small changes to your diet is one of the biggest things that you can do to help yourself and your body feel better and function properly. 

Food is fuel my loves.. acknowledge that, recpet that and honour that, always!

xo - LU

THE INSIDE SCOOP ON COLLAGEN

I don't know if you've noticed but collagen is totally in right now, I don't remember the last time I went a whole day without seeing someone mention collagen in a post on the gram. Usually trends aren't my jam because I feel like they make health and wellness seem kind of unrealistic and unattainable to the average person in the sense that you can't be healthy if you don't take the newest superfood or supplement which is a total load of BS. That being said collagen is a trend that I can get on board with and have been using for over a year now and I can't get enough of it.

WHAT IS COLLAGEN?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and is the key component of all connective tissues, it is found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, the digestive system and tendons. It gives skin it's elasticity and strength, keeps it looking youthful, easily adds a source of complete protein to any meal or drink and keeps our joints strong which is crucial in keeping our muscles and bones working properly.

After we hit 25 our bodies become less and less efficient at producing collagen, this can lead to bone and joint problems, reduced mobility and stamina, increased weight gain, lowered metabolism and wrinkled skin. This is where collagen supplements come into play.. 

BENEFITS OF SUPPLEMENTATION

1. Reduces joint pain - collagen is a gel like covering on our joints that holds our bones together and allows us to move freely without any pain. When we are deficient in collagen our tendons and ligaments move poorly which leads to stiffness, swollen joints and pain. It is also an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and other joint pains and degenerative disorders. 

2. Boosts metabolism -  collagen is a complete course of protein which is essential to promoting the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass. Keeping lean muscle mass in a healthy range allows the body to burn more fat which is essential if you want to keep your metabolism running at top speed! PRO TIP: make sure you are consuming enough Vitamin C with your supplemented collagen so that your body can convert the collagen into a useable protein!

3. Helps heal a leaky gut - collagen forms connective tissue which helps to seal the gut and stops inflammation promoting toxins from leaking out. It also helps to break down proteins and soothes the gut’s lining and heals damaged cell walls with healing amino acids.

4. Improves skin, hair and nail health - less collagen = less elasticity, more wrinkles, looser skin and dry, brittle, easily damaged hair and nails. So obviously more collagen = the opposite of all of those, it promotes youthful, bouncy skin, prevents sagging EVERYWHERE (yes everywhere) and keeps hair and nails shiny, healthy and strong!

5. Improves liver health - the main amino acid in collagen is glycine which helps strengthen and detoxify the liver, it also minimizes previous damage to the liver from absorbing foreign substances, toxins or alcohol.

CHOOSING A COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT

My favourite collagen products are made by Vital Proteins . Their Moto is; “There's nothing more important than one's health, and we believe the body needs and deserves high-quality building blocks for life’s adventures.” They are basically killing it in the collagen world and have literally covered all of their bases when it comes to variety! Their products are natural sources of essential proteins from either grass-fed pasture raised cows from Brazil and New Zealand or wild caught fish from Hawaii, all of their products are NON GMO certified and their processing standards are in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standards. 

Everything that this brand does and stands for aligns with my values completely, they want to help people live a more vibrant and fulfilling life through nutrition and that is exactly what I strive to do as well! Health, wellness and beauty start with what we put into our bodies, since adding collagen into the mix I have never gotten so many compliments on my hair, skin and nail health as I do now and my digestion has never been better! I have used their products every single day religiously for the last year and can honestly say that they are the real deal. 

MY TOP 5 FAVOURITE COLLAGEN PRODUCTS

Original Collagen Peptides  - this was the first product that I ever ordered from VP and it has been a staple for me since the beginning, it is unflavoured, mixes easily into whatever you put it in making it a convenient way to add a quality boost of protein to anything you want. PRO TIP: I add this into almost all of my baking for an extra hit of protein and no one can ever tell! 

Matcha Collagen - this is literally the perfect combo, a high quality matcha with a serving of collagen already added in, it doesn't really get much easier than that. Blend with hot water, almond milk and a little bit of coconut butter for a sustained energy boost in place of your morning coffee!

Vanilla Collagen Creamer - packed with a full serving of healthy fats and a serving of collagen, this is perfect for those of you who want to try a bulletproof coffee but don't want to run out and buy 5 different products in order to whip one up. 

Beauty Water - a blend of collagen, hyaluronic acid, probiotics, organic strawberry and organic lemon, all of which help support the glow and tone of your skin. It also adds a fun, yummy twist to your water which is a total bonus!

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Collagen Peptides - okay I was hesitant at first about the flavour but these are a GAME CHANGER, the hint of blackberry is so subtle and the chocolate is so rich - perfect for satisfying chocolate cravings!

HOW TO INCORPORATE COLLAGEN

My favourite way to add collagen into my daily routine is in my morning coffee or my daily smoothie, I've put together a couple super simple recipes below so you can get your collagen on with ease, no excuses!

Bulletproof Latte:

1 steaming hot cup of your favourite coffee (or matcha)

1 scoop original collagen peptides

1 scoop collagen creamer

.25 tsp raw honey

splash of almond milk

1. Blend everything on high in your blender for 25-20 seconds, pour and enjoy. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Super Smoothie:

2 scoops dark chocolate blackberry peptides

1/2 frozen banana

3 handfuls of spinach (you won't taste them trust me)

1/4 cup cooked sweet potato

3-5 ice cubes

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp ground flax

dash of cinnamon

1 cup almond milk

1. Blend in a high powered blender and enjoy!

I know that it can be super easy to get caught up in the latest health trends but as always before incorporating something new into your diet PLEASE do your research and make sure that it actually aligns with you, your goals and makes you actually feel good! 

xo -LU

PROTEIN EXCESS + YOUR HEALTH

When people think of protein they automatically think of animal protein - chicken, beef, pork, eggs, seafood.. you get the point. And what about when you think of lean protein, that usually means chicken, turkey, eggs and fish right? Oh and we usually think of weight loss when we think of lean protein, can't forget that. 

How many times have you read a diet that says "serving of lean protein" in it somewhere (most likely at every single meal). I am just going to go ahead and assume that we have all read - and probably tried - a diet that is supposed to promote weight loss that is high in lean protein and low in carbohydrates. I usually don't like to make assumptions but I'm pretty positive on this one because they're everywhere and for some reason we blindly follow these low carb, high protein diets because we see people have success on them. But when they don't work for us we are left confused, sick and most likely starving and feeling worse than we did before. 

For some reason a lot of us have this image of protein being a completely clean food engraved into our brains but what most people don't know is that a diet that is high in protein (the animal kind) is actually extremely dangerous to our health and is one of the main reasons that we are in the middle of a full blown obesity and diet related disease epidemic.

The scary thing is that protein is not a magical weight loss food whatsoever, in fact it's actually one of the biggest factors contributing to obesity today. 

I explained in my last post that protein is made up of Amino Acids which are the building blocks for muscles, bones and many hormones in our body's so yes protein is essential to our health, but too much of a good thing is never actually a good thing. 

WITH EXCESS PROTEIN COMES..

With all of the talk in the media of high protein diets comes a high protein demand and to keep up with this high protein demand, a large amount of the excess meat is typically poor (cheap) quality coming from animals that are raised in overcrowded, dirty, confined barns or houses where they are are mistreated and fed a diet of GMO grains and corn and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. So when we choose to consume this meat we are quite literally consuming the herbicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs as well as the GMOs that these animals have been fed and exposed to in their (short) lifetime. Gross right? 

In fact conventional animal protein is so high in antibiotics and synthetic hormones that it is actually leading to antibiotic resistance in humans due to the high transfer rate of these drugs from consuming their protein.

A diet that is high in animal protein is also extremely high in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat, all of which are major contributing factors to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract and even cancer. 

THE TERRIBLE TRIO

CHOLESTEROL

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood and cells, most of the cholesterol in your body is produced by the liver and the rest comes from foods you eat. There are two types of cholesterol; Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is the “bad” aka unhealthy kind of cholesterol that builds up in your arteries and High-density lipoprotein (HDL)which is the “good” aka healthy kind of cholesterol that transports excess cholesterol out of your arteries to your liver to be removed. Cholesterol itself is not the bad guy, in fact our body needs some cholesterol in order to make hormones, vitamin D and digestive fluids, that is why our liver produces a small amount. It's when our cholesterol intake increases from our diet that it becomes a problem. 

When our diet is high in cholesterol it starts to build up in the arteries, clogging them, making them less flexible and hardening them, leading to a condition called atherosclerosis. When our arteries become clogged our heart has to work extra hard to push blood through and eventually this can damage your arteries and contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The daily MAXIMUM recommended intake for cholesterol based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet is 300mg per day but an ideal intake is 200mg per day and under.

SATURATED FAT

Saturated fat is a type of fat that is typically solid at room temperature (think butter, the fat on a steak, etc). Most saturated fats come from animal sources like meat and dairy products but there are some that come from certain plant foods as well like palm oil and coconut oil. Too much saturated fat in the diet raises the LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood which as we just discussed increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The daily MAXIMUM recommended intake for saturated fat based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet is 30g for men and 20g for women but consuming under 15g per day is ideal. 

TRANS FAT

Trans fat or trans fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that occur in small amounts in nature, but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats (hydrogenated vegetable oil) for use in packaged and processed foods. There are two types of trans fats found in foods; naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats but the main dietary source of trans fat is from the artificial trans fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in processed foods. Trans fats raise LDL cholesterol levels and lower your HDL cholesterol levels which increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

The daily MAXIMUM recommended intake for trans fat based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet is 5g per day but an ideal intake is anywhere between 0g-2g per day.

*Less is always more when it comes to these three things.*

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE CONSUME EXCESS AMINO ACIDS

Our body is constantly breaking down, recycling and reusing proteins and amino acids, so much so that we actually have enough amino acids stored in our blood plasma pool to sustain us for long periods of time without needing to consume aminos from protein in the diet. Our blood level of aminos never really drops unless we are in serious starvation mode (I'm talking weeks into starvation mode) so when we eat a meal that is high in protein (and amino acids) our metabolism raises because our body is trying to get rid of the excess aminos that it cannot store. So with that being said if you eat a meal that is high in both protein and fat (I'm looking at you Keto people) your body will ultimately prioritize breaking down and eliminating the protein and will store the fat (hello weight gain) from the meal. Unfortunately for all of us, our body's can store unlimited excess fats, our fat stores just get bigger and multiply as we need them but when we consume excess protein or carbohydrates (glucose) our body can just metabolize them.

EXCESS PROTEIN AND THE PLANET

If you follow me on instagram (shameless plug) then you already know just how passionate I am about animal welfare and the environment when it comes to the meat and dairy industry. It's no surprise that animal protein takes a lot more financial and environmental resources to cultivate than plant protein, I mean you literally have to raise, feed, drug, impregnate and slaughter the animals whereas all you have to do for a plant is water and harvest it. I bet you find know jay roughly 35% of the worlds grains are fed to animals and 80% of the worlds antibiotics are used on those same animals in the animal protein industry. Not to mention that 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

Fun Fact: It takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk and a cow in the dairy industry can drink up to 50 gallons of water a day. Alternatively 1 pound of tofu requires 244 gallons of water, thats more than a 50% decrease.. 

HOW TO LOWER YOUR CONSUMPTION

Okay don't get me wrong, I know that change is hard and a lot of us have been raised in households that put animal protein up on a pedestal at every single meal. I'm not expecting you to change your ways overnight or even at all, what I am trying to do is shed some light on the fact that there has been a gross misrepresentation about how much protein we need in our diet and that it is actually hurting our health and our planet in the long run. The meat and dairy industry spends a lot of money to keep these facts in the dark, they pay associations to put their products on their "heart healthy" and "diabetes friendly" meal plans and they market themselves in a way that quite frankly confuses the shit out of the general population. Trust me, I know!

If you read this whole post and could not care less then that is okay, all that really matters to me is that you are informed of these things. But if you read this and are now thinking "holy shit I need to get a handle on my protein addiction and seriously start lowering my consumption" (which you should be) then I have some tips for you my friend!

  • Start participating in Meatless Monday's - I know it's a trend but it's actually a really amazing trend with a ton of benefits. Ditching animal protein for the entire day once a week dramatically decreases your weekly consumption and helps the planet - if you were to skip meat and cheese one day a week for a year it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for five weeks!
  • Incorporate more plant based proteins - everything has protein in it but the highest plant based protein sources are; lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, spirulina, quinoa, chia seeds and hemp hearts.
  • Be adventurous - this is such a great opportunity to try new things that you might not have thought to try before.
  • Find a plant based cook book that actually excites you - my favourites are the Thug Kitchen series and the Oh She Glows series.
  • Look at the cuisines of countries with well known plant based staple dishes for inspiration - India and Mexico for are both great ones.
  • Do your own research - knowledge is power and the more you know about this stuff the more you can spread the word and feel confident in  your decision to lower your consumption and have the facts to back it up!
  • Create a support system - educate your friends and family and get them on board, support makes making a change so much easier! 

The most important thing when it comes to trying anything new is making small, smart and sustainable changes so that you don't shock your mind or body. If you go crazy and add 4 new types of legumes and grains into your daily diet you are going to end up shocking your digestive system and will most likely become backed up. Alternatively if you cut all animal protein out of your diet and don't replace them with plant sources of protein you will realistically be starving and lethargic that's never fun either. 

As you all know I am not fully vegan so please don't take this as me preaching a vegan diet because that is not my intention. I do eat plant based 95% of the time but I also consume the occasional local free range egg or wild local salmon and I take collagen peptides daily because THAT is what feels good to me. I'm just trying to keep you guys informed on a subject that is close to my heart and also pretty controversial and confusing, I have so many clients and close friends and loved ones that have come to me feeling inflamed and sick but have no clue as to why and every time that I suggest it may be due to their animal protein consumption they fight me on it, until they actually try limiting their intake. I'm trying to get you to understand that we don't need to consume animal protein every day (or ever) but I do believe that moderation is the key to both happiness and health it's important to always do what feels right to you and what makes your body and mind feel good.

The ideal diet for you is the one you feel the best on - remember that, always. 

xo

-LU

THE PROTEIN MYTH

PROTEIN MYTH.jpg

I like to refer to my diet as plant-based pescatarian, meaning most days I am 100% plant based but there are occasions where I choose to consume pasture raised local eggs or wild caught local salmon for the health benefits, to maintain a level of ease when I go out for food and because I generally feel good eating like this. When I made the switch from eating meat and dairy to eating a plant based diet I started to notice my energy levels improve first and for someone who is doing intense physical activity daily that was HUGE for me. The thing is that for a lot of people not eating meat and increased performance don't exactly go hand in hand in their brain, in fact they are usually on opposite ends of the spectrum mentally and the common "where do you get your protein?" or "how do you build muscle?" questions come up A LOT.

It makes sense that the majority of people don't understand how you can possibly be an athlete but not consume meat, after all the meat and dairy industry has brainwashed us all into thinking that the only sources of protein on the planet are the ones that come from animal sources. With campaigns like "Got Milk?" and famous athletes claiming to eat insane amounts of animal protein in order to put on muscle and perform it would be strange not to believe it really. 

What if I told you that animal protein is not essential for athletic performance?

Protein is an essential nutrient that is crucial to our health, it is the building block of muscle, provides energy when our glucose stores get too low, helps to repair muscle and is involved in almost every single biological process that goes on in our bodies every day. Protein is made up of 20 different amino acids, 9 of which are essential meaning they have to be consumed in the diet because our body cannot synthesize (make) them. So when you hear people say that we need protein for our health they actually mean that we need the amino acids in protein, not the protein itself.

Most animal protein generally contains all of the essential amino acids, not because they are naturally occurring in animal foods but because the animals have consumed the amino acids in their lifetime and have stored them in their tissues (aka the meat you eat). The real kicker is the fact that animals can't synthesize the 9 essential amino acids either and the foods that the animals have consumed in order to store all of the essential amino acids in their tissues are plants. Plants synthesize all of the essential amino acids just in different amounts, so humans can get all of the essential amino acids from eating a variety of plant foods (just like animals do).

PROTEIN COMBINING

Something that has really taken a front seat in the plant based protein movement is the idea of protein combining. Protein combining is the concept that we need to eat complementary proteins together in order to get all of the essential amino acids from the diet. 

The truth though is that all vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and plant foods in general contain all of the nonessential and essential amino acids we need. Our bodies also store pools of all of the amino acids to be used if our levels ever get low (which is rare) and our body is constantly recycling protein to be reabsorbed by our body. 

So becoming protein deficient is almost as impossible as walking off the edge of the earth. 

PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS

The most common (and uneducated) recommendation floating around the dieting and nutrition world is that we should be eating 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, if you have ever looked into diets that promote weight loss or muscle building then you have probably seen that equation once or twice (try hundreds of times). Well not only is that not accurate AT ALL it is more than double the actual Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) which is 0.8 grams per pound of body weight in kilograms per day (1 kg = 2.2 lbs). I know, it's shocking right?

The funny thing is not only do people who eat a completely plant based diet get enough protein daily, but they are actually averaging twice the average requirement for protein (nutrition facts.org) and meeting all of their essential amino acids needs. 

There has also never been a study (ever) that has shown that eating above the RDA let alone an excessive amount of protein is beneficial to muscle growth or repair in any way. But because of the media and big corporations the bulk of North Americans consume more than 3 times the RDA of protein every single day almost entirely from animal protein sources and most of them aren't even athletes, in fact most of them get little to no daily physical activity at all. 

The thing that most people don't know is that not only are they doing themselves no good by consuming so much excess animal protein, they are actually putting themselves at serious risk.

THE RISKS OF ANIMAL PROTEIN

Conventional animal protein is high in hormones, chemicals and antibiotics all of which are put directly into our bodies when we choose to eat that burger, chicken breast, steak, etc. The animals are raised in dirty, cramped conditions that breed bacteria so in order for the animals not to get sick or become infected chemicals and antibiotics have to be added to their feed and to ensure that the animals grow as large as possible and as quickly as possible to increase profit, hormones are either added to the feed or given to the animals via injection. Animal protein is also high in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat all of which contribute to cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer risk. Cholesterol is actually found exclusively in animal foods, not even the highest fat plant foods like nuts, avocados or coconuts contain even the smallest amount of cholesterol and we as humans have ZERO dietary need for cholesterol whatsoever. Animal foods also contain absolutely no fiber and very low levels of any of the essential vitamins or nutrients making them a high calorie, high fat and low nutritional value food. 

To put it simply, excess animal protein paired with a low activity (sedentary) lifestyle creates a major risk of health complications, disease and even early death. I could go on and on about what animal protein does to our health but instead of make this post a thousand paragraphs long I have decided to write a second post all about protein excess and exactly how it is contributing to the current obesity and disease epidemic so stay tuned for that early next week - I'l announce it on my instagram!

I also wanted to note that this may seem like I am totally bashing meat, but honestly I'm not. I believe that there is no perfect diet for everyone and that the best diet is the one you feel good eating. That being said, animal rights and the impact that animal agriculture has on our environment are things that I am extremely passionate about so I am just trying to shed some light on the fact that we NOT need to eat excessive amounts of animal protein in order to sustain life, lose weight, build muscle or perform.

xo -LU

THE OTHER F WORD - FIBER

FIBER.jpg

I feel like fiber has a weird reputation because of it's association with frequent trips to the restroom and bowel movements in general (yup I went there) but fiber is no joke you guys! Fiber is one of the most powerful nutrients that you can put into your body for so many reasons but it is also one of the most commonly deficient nutrients in the western diet. I have always been pro fiber but recently I have been learning even more about it in my schooling and through my own research and my mind has pretty much been blown to say the least. I knew that I had to share my newfound knowledge with you so I'm going to tell you exactly why you should hop on the fiber bandwagon, up your intake and get excited to use the bathroom more. 

WHAT EXACTLY IS FIBER?

Dietary fiber is the carbohydrates and lignins (roughage to put it simply) found in plants that cannot be digested by the digestive enzymes in the human body but still serve a (huge) purpose to our health.

There are two types of dietary fiber; soluble fiber which dissolves or absorbs water in our digestive system and creates a gel like substance and insoluble fiber which does not dissolve, cannot be digested and stays fully in tact while passing through the digestive system.

BENEFITS OF SOLUBLE FIBER

Soluble fiber as I said becomes a gel like substance in the digestive system that binds to fatty acids and slows the rate at which the stomach empties and the rate at which our cells absorb glucose (sugar) which ultimately reduces blood sugar spikes. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and bile and reduces their absorption causing the body to draw the cholesterol that it needs to function from the blood which results in lower total blood cholesterol. It also slows the absorption of nutrients and the passage of food through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract causing you to stay full for longer. 

BENEFITS OF INSOLUBLE FIBER

Because insoluble fiber cannot be digested or dissolved it adds bulk to the waste which stimulates peristalsis - a series of wave like muscle contractions that moves food along the GI tract. If I lost you at that big fancy anatomy word it basically means that the bulk stimulates waves of digestion! It also feeds the good bacteria in our gut and balances our PH which helps prevent colon cancer by stopping any harmful microbes from producing harmful substances.

FIBER AND DIGESTION

In order for our digestive system to function optimally we need to be consuming a balance of both insoluble and soluble fiber. If you consume too much or too little of one or the other it can either soften or harden waste making it uncomfortable or difficult to eliminate as stool.

Too much soluble fiber can pull water away from the gut wall which can dry it out and reduce absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream and the expansive effect of soluble fiber can also cause uncomfortable bloating and constipation. 

Too much insoluble fiber can irritate the gut and inflame a sensitive digestive system and can add too much bulk to the stool making it dry, hard and difficult to pass. 

But when you get the perfect balance of both everything just flows (sorry for the visual). Toxic substances are removed from the colon by binding with the gelatinous soluble fiber and the bulk that insoluble fiber provides speeds up elimination of those toxic substances which would otherwise get trapped in the colon. The combination of the two promote regularity and prevent constipation, balance our intestinal PH and feed our healthy gut microflora so it is able to fight off infection and inflammation. 

FIBER AND WEIGHTLOSS

Okay so now that you know how fiber helps your insides let's talk about how fiber can make you feel good on the outside. Fiber makes you feel full without adding calories, because fiber is not digested by the body neither are the calories it provides! Fiber also negates the amount of carbs that get converted into sugar which means that as long as you are eating the right kinds of carbs (whole complex carbs) you can actually subtract the amount of fiber that you consume in a day from the amount of carbs you consume to get your total digestible carb intake. So for example if you eat 130g of carbs a day and 50g of fiber your body is actually only digesting and metabolizing 80g of net carbs (see below) into glucose for energy.

*Net carbs are what you get when you subtract total fiber in grams from total carbohydrates in grams*

So how does this affect fat loss? Well the only way to actually lose fat is for your body to burn fat as fuel and your body can only do that in the absence of glucose (the preferred fuel source) so when you lower the amount of glucose that your body is storing your body will have no choice other than to burn fat for fuel. 

So by increasing your dietary fiber intake you can actually lower your overall net carb intake, stay full for longer and burn more fat. WHAT!!!!

HOW MUCH FIBER DO WE NEED TO BE CONSUMING

If we have to put a general number on it the recommended daily dose of fiber is 25g per day for women and 38g per day for men. The average daily consumption in North America is 12g and under which just shows how obviously deficient most people are in this crucial nutrient. 

HOW TO INCORPORATE MORE FIBER INTO YOUR DIET

The first step in getting more fiber into your diet is cutting out the processed, refined and simple carbohydrates that we all know (and most of us love) and replacing them with real, whole, nutrient dense complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs offer high calories with very little nutrients (aka low nutrient density) or fiber so not only are these crappy simple carbs contributing to the lack of fiber in most people's diets, they are also a huge factor in the obesity and cardiovascular disease epidemic that we are currently facing as a nation.

The next step is to start incorporating at lest one source of both types of fiber at every single meal. I have listed the top sources for both types and the exact amount of fiber with serving sizes below so you literally have zero excuses to not step up your fiber game ASAP!

TOP SOURCES OF SOLUBLE FIBER

Kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, zucchini, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, prunes, figs, dates, barley, oatmeal, oat bran, psyllium husk, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and whole grain sprouted bread.

AMOUNT OF SOLUBLE FIBER PER SERVING

  • Psyllium husk - 3.5 g per 1 Tbsp
  • Oats and Oat bran - 2.2 g per 3/4 cup
  • Dried figs - 1.9 g per 1/4 cup
  • Orange - 1.8 g, medium size
  • Fruit skin - 1.2 g per skin
  • Flax seed - 1.1 g per 1 tbsp
  • Tofu - 2.8 g per 3/4 cup
  • Edamame - 1.5 g per 1/2 cup
  • Avocado - 2.1 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Black beans - 2.4 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Navy beans - 2.2 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Kidney beans - 2 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Brussels sprouts - 2 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Sweet potato - 1.8 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Asparagus - 1.7 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Turnip - 1.7 g per 1/2 Cup

TOP SOURCES OF INSOLUBLE FIBER

Vegetables, dark green leafy greens, root vegetable skins, fruit skins, whole grain wheat products, wheat bran, corn bran, nuts, and seeds and fiber 1 cereal.

AMOUNT OF INSOLUBLE FIBER PER SERVING

  • Shredded Wheat cereal - 4.5 g per cup
  • Bulgur - 4.2 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Flax seeds - 2.2 g per 1 tbsp
  • Wheat bran - 11.3 grams per 1/2 cup
  • All Bran cereal - 7.2 g per 1/3 cup
  • Kidney beans - 5.9 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Pinto beans - 5.7 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Navy beans - 4.3 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Lentils - 4.6 g per 1/2 cup
  • Peas - 3 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Okra - 3.1 g per 1/2 Cup
  • Turnip - 3.1 g per 1/2 Cup

It's super important for me to note that when upping your fiber intake you also have to up your water intake to match otherwise you can cause a serious back up and some very uncomfortable bloat and cramping. Now that we have your hydration locked in to accompany your new high(er) fiber diet you are ready to get regular - do you find me funny yet?

Your digestive system, colon, waistline and metabolism will thank you!

xo -LU

TRANSITIONING TO INTUITIVE EATING

There is no "perfect diet" for everyone, our bodies and minds are all so different and what works for one person may be the last thing that works for you. I think part of the reason that it's so hard to figure out what really works for us as individuals is because we live in a time where social media influencers and celebrities can post about a diet or workout that they're trying and the next day thousands of people will be following the same routine. Just because it works for one of your idols does not mean it is going to work for you, you are completely different people with different goals, bodies, lifestyles and mindsets. All "diets" are not created equal although they do have one thing in common, they're all restrictive in some way - whether it be portion sizes or cutting out certain foods all together, restriction does not work, it just makes us crave the restricted foods more and eventually can leads to bingeing or falling off the wagon completely. 

I am someone who has struggled for years to find balance in loving my body and actually enjoying my life. Before I got into fitness and nutrition as a career and actually educated myself I was that girl trying all of the fad diets and restricting myself in any and every way possible to try and get to my goals. I have counted macros and calories for the last 18 months or so and it worked really well for me, I didn't feel deprived and I got to my goals but I started to become obsessive over tracking my food intake. There were days where if I didn't hit my macros spot on I would freak out and (many) days where if I went over I'd just say "f*ck it" and keep eating to excess and end up full on bingeing, it wasn't healthy anymore. So when I decided not to compete in the middle of September I also decided that number based eating was no longer working for me and started to transition to intuitive eating.

If you're tired of failing at fad diets, counting calories, weighing your food and feeling deprived it may be time to reconnect with your body, food is not only fuel but also one of the biggest pleasures in life and it needs to be seen as both of those things. Feeling deprived or restricted is no way to live, trust me I've done it.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS INTUITIVE EATING?

Intuitive eating is eating like a normal rational, sane human being - not weighing everything that goes in your mouth, not looking at food and seeing numbers, not obsessing over calories or macros and certainly not restricting, depriving or bingeing, in any way.

It is eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full, fuelling your body with foods that genuinely make you feel good and enjoying the foods that you love in moderation. By actual definition it is; “someone who makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honours hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.” It's listening to your body and getting rid of the negative guilt that surrounds dieting and eating in general.

If you think about it we are raised to eat intuitively, as a baby you cried when you were hungry and then your mom would feed you until you didn't want to be fed anymore. Our bodies are so smart, it knows what we need and when we need it, we just have to learn to listen again. 

HOW DO I START TO MAKE THE TRANSITION?

STOP FAD DIETING

There is no magic pill or overnight miracle solution, diets do not work long term, period. Diets aren't sustainable or enjoyable and more often than not they lead us to having negative relationships with food, our bodies and ourselves. The whole point of intuitive eating is learning to give your body what it needs when it needs it so that we are left mentally and physically satisfied.  

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY'S CUES

It seems simple enough, eat when you feel hungry and stop when you feel full but unfortunately we have been brainwashed to restrict ourselves in such a way that hunger feels normal to most of us. One of the most important pieces of advice that I can give when it comes to hunger is do not wait until you are starving to eat, this leads to overeating which results in being way too full, quite  bloated and not feeling super great about yourself mentally or physically. Aim to eat when you start to feel hungry but not when you are ravenous and try to stop eating when you start to feel satisfied but not yet full, this allows your body time to digest and actually become full. It takes around 20 minutes to actually feel the sensation of being full from a meal, so give yourself time to digest and try not to overeat. 

DEVELOP A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

This is the part that people usually have a hard time with in this process. Since most of us have been living with diet brain for years it can be hard to look at food as just food and not as a way to gain or lose weight. This is the point in the process where you need to allow yourself to have the foods that you have been restricting yourself from, do not think of it as a binge or a "cheat" think of it as welcoming these foods back into your life. By letting yourself indulge for a while in the foods you've been so desperately missing, the appeal will ware off because they are no longer off limits, you will stop to crave these foods and realize that you don't need to have them every day in order to feel good. Everything is healthy in moderation.  

DITCH THE FOOD RULES

We all have them, dietary restrictions that we have made up for ourselves because we think that they are what we need to do (or not do) in order to be healthy. "I don't eat carbs", "I have to stop eating 3 hours before I go to sleep", "I can only have a treat if I do a longer cardio session tomorrow", "I don't eat bread" - this one is especially funny to me because come on.. bread is amazing and we all know it. The only thing that these rules do for us is create unhealthy relationships with certain food and push us closer to cheating on our so called restrictions. I dare you to go have a piece of bread, or chocolate or anything that you have been depriving yourself of - and I dare you to enjoy it and not think of the calories or numbers or anything negative.

FIND SATISFACTION IN FOOD AGAIN

Through dieting we are taught to deprive ourselves of so much and rarely feel satisfied, can you remember the last time you ate and actually felt satisfaction with no guilt afterwards? It's actually very rare for most people. Part of this process is figuring out which foods truly satisfy your hunger and cravings while also satisfying your body's micronutrient needs! If you are craving something it usually means your body is deficient in that thing, ask yourself things like;  "What do I want to eat?", "Do I want something sweet or savoury?", "How hungry am I?" Learn to experiment with foods, find your favourite vegetables and fruits and include them often, eat a variety of foods not only to feel good but also to keep your body nourished through all of the different vitamins and minerals that food has to offer. 

EXERCISE BECAUSE YOU WANT TO

It's time to stop viewing exercise as a way to burn off the food you ate the night before. A lot of us view exercise as a punishment for what we may have eaten, we view it as a tedious and negative chore that we have to do in order to be allowed to eat but that is not the point of exercise. Yes exercise burns calories which is important when trying to reach a fitness goal but it is also essential to our cardiovascular health, digestion, been strength, metabolism, gastrointestinal health and so much more. When we pair good nutrition with proper exercise our bodies can do amazing things for us. It's time to exercise again because you love your body and not because you think you need to punish it for something that you ate. 

PRIORITIZE HEALTH ABOVE ALL ELSE

Yes it is going to feel amazing to no longer restrict yourself from the things you love and desire but I know that I am not going to shock you when I say that eating ice cream and donuts every day is not the healthiest way to live. Remember that just like anything in life, everything is okay in moderation. Through intuitive eating you will learn which foods give you the most energy and which leave you feeling sluggish and you will learn exactly what your body truly thrives off of. You'll come to realize that a salad full of fresh vegetables, grains and healthy fats make your body happy and a donut with extra sprinkles makes your mind happy. It's all about finding your prefect balance. 

LOVE AND EMBRACE THE PROCESS

While there is a possibility that transitioning to intuitive eating may help you lose weight there is also a possibility that you may gain a small amount of weight while you're learning to respect your body's cues and allowing yourself to eat and actually be full. This is a mental journey, it is about finding your happiness and creating a positive healthy relationship with food and your body and eventually this will lead you to a place where you are not restricted or deprived and just overall very happy, trust me. Do not look at this as a way to lose weight, instead look at it is a complete lifestyle change! Whatever happens to your weight during this journey does not define your success at this, please get that through your head and remember it always.

Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and I think I speak for the majority of the population when I say that a diet of any kind is not enjoyable. I have been practicing intuitive eating for about 5 weeks now and I can honestly say that I have never felt this healthy both mentally and physically as I do now, my relationship with food is amazing, I have zero restriction and I am still able to reach my fitness goals because I've learned what does and does not work for my body. At the end of the day food is just food, it really doesn't need to be so complicated.

We do not have to be miserable in order to look and feel a certain way about our bodies. 

xo -LU

KITCHEN MAKEOVER SERIES PART 4: IMPLEMENTING HEALTHY HABITS

KITCHEN4.jpg

It's officially week 4 of this series which means that you have been making changes to improve your kitchen and your health for a whole month now and you are (obviously) doing a kickass job at it!

As most of you know I preach an intuitive and balanced way of eating and lifestyle. I believe that everything in moderation is perfectly healthy and that there is always a way to live your healthiest life possible while still enjoying the things you love. That being said, part of moderation is knowing that eating fries and cake every day is not going to do amazing things to your waistline and being able to make healthier choices most of the time. Today I am going to give you guys healthier alternatives to some of the most commonly eaten foods on the market, teach you a couple of my favourite tricks to preventing and kicking cravings and teach you how to build a perfectly balanced meal plate! 

No single food should be considered good or bad, it is a combination of all of the foods that we eat throughout our days, weeks and months that contribute to whether our diet is healthy or not..

EAT (OR DRINK) THIS - NOT THAT

  • EAT THIS: Kombucha: a fermented tea that increases good bacteria in the gut. It is naturally carbonated to kick those pop cravings - NOT THAT: Coca Cola

WHY: Coke contains 10 tsps per 12 ounces, caffeine which dehydrates the body and is a huge cause to weight gain, hormone imbalance, headaches and low energy.

  • EAT THIS: GT’s, Welo, Tonica, Health Aid - NOT THAT: Live Brand OR Rise Brand Kombucha

WHY: They contain a ton of added sugar which leads to to increased bad bacteria, bloating, gas and causes the benefits of the kombucha not to work.

  • EAT THIS: Herbal Tea, hot water with lemon - NOT THAT: Sweetened Bottled Iced Tea

WHY: Marketed as a healthier option, but it contains 13 ¼ tsp of sugar- more than coke. Stay away from any sugared drinks.

  • EAT THIS: Freshly Squeezed or Cold Pressed Orange Juice - NOT THAT: Bottled Tropicana Brand Orange Juice

WHY: Contains 9 tsps per serving. The only ingredient is: 100% orange juice which can mean over 2000 ingredients

  • EAT THIS: Low Sugar Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Coconut Yogurt, Probiotic Supplement - NOT THAT: Tropicana Brand Fortified Probiotic Juice

WHY: Contains tons of added sugar to feed the bad bacteria.

  • EAT THIS: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil - NOT THAT: Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil

WHY: It is highly processed, cheap, GMO and carcinogenic when heated. 

  • EAT THIS: Low Sugar Organic Ketchup (check ingredient list) - NOT THAT: Heinz Brand Ketchup

WHY: Contains 1 tsp of sugar per tsp of ketchup. 

  • EAT THIS: Herbal Teas, Coconut Water, Kombucha, Water - NOT THAT: Vitamin Water

WHY: Over 6 tsp of sugar and zero vitamins. Depletes the body of electrolytes.

  • EAT THIS: RXBAR, GoMacro, Genuine Health, Simply Protein - NOT THAT: Cliff Bar

WHY: Contains over 4 tsp of sugar, artificial chemicals and poor quality protein.

  • EAT THIS: Chocolate Almond and/or Soy Milk - NOT THAT: Chocolate Milk

WHY: Contains 6 tsps of sugar per serving, poor source or calcium, increases bloating, gas.

  • EAT THIS: Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Oat Milk, Cashew Milk - NOT THAT: Cow’s Milk

WHY: Very poor source of calcium and nutrients due to pasteurization. Huge allergen, Calcium fights with phosphorus for absorption, and most of the time, phosphorus will win.

  • EAT THIS: Non Dairy Alternatives - NOT THAT: Low-Fat Dairy Products

WHY: In order for dairy to be low-fat, chemicals and sugar have to be added and the enzyme lipase is removed. Lipase is necessary for the breakdown of dairy. This could lead to a dairy intolerance.

CRAVINGS 101

Food cravings are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. An imbalance of hormones, emotions and blood sugar (or all 3) can effect these brain waves which results in cravings. The trick to stopping cravings before they even begin is getting to know your body, mind, emotions and hunger cues.

HOW TO AVOID CRAVINGS ALTOGETHER

 

  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day. 
  • Eat protein, fiber and fat in each meal to ensure that you are satisfied and your blood sugar is balanced. 
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits per day, limiting fruit to 3 servings a day. 
  • Limit your intake of processed sugar, salt and fatty foods.
  • Do not go more than 3 hours of eating - this will help keep your blood sugar balanced.

FOODS TO LIMIT OR ELIMINATE TO REDUCE CRAVINGS

  • Eliminate sugar
  • Eliminate dairy
  • Eliminate salty foods
  • Eliminate fatty foods
  • Eliminate alcohol
  • Limit Coffee
  • Limit natural sugars (fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.)

BUILDING A BALANCED PLATE

One of the main things that I hear from new clients us that they don't even know where to begin to build a balanced meal. How much protein should I be eating every meal? Which vegetables are the healthiest? Can I eat carbs at every meal? These are all super valid questions, I've created an easy guide so that all of you can confidently build a plate for any meal of the day and know that you are getting all the right nutrients!

BASE OF PLATE: Dark Leafy Greens - 2-3 cups/handfuls of - spinach, kale, romaine, spring mix, arugula, etc.

HALF OF PLATE: Raw Vegetables (3-4) - Carrots, beets, radish, mushroom, tomato, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, red pepper, Swiss chard, bean sprouts, red and green cabbage, etc. 

QUARTER OF PLATE: Protein - Organic tofu, tempeh, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, chicken, turkey, salmon, egg, etc.

QUARTER OF PLATE: Grain - Quinoa, brown rice, farro, etc.

ADD ON TOP: Healthy Fat - Handful of nuts & seeds, ½ avocado, flax oil, olive oil, hemp oil, tahini, etc.

If you have made it to the end of this then you officially have all of the tools to grocery shop, store your food and build your meals as healthy and nutritious as possible! If you liked this series and would like to see more like this in the future let me know on social media!

KITCHEN MAKEOVER SERIES PART 3: HOW TO PROPERLY STORE YOUR FOOD

So I'm just going to go ahead and assume that you followed my grocery list to a tee and now you have a ton of great food in your kitchen and pantry. It's important that you now how to properly store all of this nutrient dense food in order to keep it freshest for the longest amount of time possible and maintain all of the important vitamins and nutrients! 

You're probably thinking "I know how to store my food this girl is crazy" but the truth is the way that our parents and even what the packaging of certain food have taught us how to store things isn't the most beneficial way, not even a little bit - crazy right?

IN THE FRIDGE

SUPPLEMENTS: 

  • Fat-soluble Vitamins - Fish Oil, Omega 3 & 6, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin E
  • Probiotics 
  • Green Powders - Spirulina, Greens Powder
  • Super Foods: 
  • Hemp Hearts 
  • Chia Seeds 
  • Flax Seeds and Meal 
  • Flax Oil, Hemp Oil, Udo’s Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar - storing in the fridge stops fermentation process.

DRY FOOD:

  • Nuts and Seeds - These should be kept in the fridge, in a glass jar if they are going to be consumed in a few days (otherwise, store in freezer).  
  • Flour - Flour also contains good fats, and should be stored in the fridge (if used often), to prevent it from going rancid. If you use flour on a weekly basis store in the fridge, if not store in the freezer.

PRODUCE:

Fruits and veggies naturally emit an odorless, harmless and tasteless gas called ethylene and some produce a lot more than others. Produce that produces the most ethylene gas includes; apples, apricots, avocados, ripening bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, citrus fruit (except grapefruit), figs, grapes, green onions, honeydew, ripe kiwi fruit, mangoes, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pears, peppers, pineapple, plums, prunes, tomatoes and watermelon.

When you store ethylene producing foods next to ethylene sensitive foods the gas actually speeds up the ripening process of the other produce. Produce that is especially sensitive to ethylene gas includes; asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, kiwi fruit, leafy greens, lettuce, parsley, peas, peppers, potatoes, romaine lettuce, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, watercress and yams.

It's important to store the two categories in separate produce drawers in the fridge or even leave some of the ethylene producing produce out in a bowl on the counter instead!

All vegetables should be stored in the fridge with the exception of tomatoes and avocados and all fruit can be stored on the counter at room temperature with the exception of berries, cherries and grapes which should go in the fridge.

IN THE FREEZER

SUPERFOODS:

  • Extra Hemp Hearts, Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds - can be stored in the freezer when bought in bulk. Once you are out of the ones in the fridge, just replace them with the frozen ones.

DRY FOODS:

  • Extra Nuts and Seeds - If you don't eat these on a regular basis, keep them in the freezer to prevent the fats from going rancid. 
  • Extra Flour - should be stored in the freezer if it is not being used on a daily basis to keep it fresh and prevent it from going rancid. 
  • Extra Spices
  • Bread - should always be stored in the freezer because natural sprouted breads contain no preservatives.

IN THE PANTRY

SUPPLEMENTS & SUPERFOODS:

  • Multivitamins
  • Single Vitamins and Minerals 
  • Protein Powders 
  • Digestive Powders
  • Collagen 
  • Camu berry
  • Chaga, tea
  • Cacao Powder
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Maca

DRY FOOD:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Pasta
  • Oats 
  • Dried Fruit 
  • Canned Food
  • Dried Lentils, Beans and Legumes
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Protein Bars
  • Honey 
  • Maple Syrup
  • Oils - Coconut, Olive, Grapeseed, Avocado, Etc.
  • Vinegars 

WHAT TO STORE IT IN

If possible it is always best to store in glass to prevent any of the harmful chemicals and toxins that are found in plastic from leaching into your food. Glass is also cleaner than plastic, it is a non-porous surface so it doesn’t absorb food or germs and it can be safely washed at high temperatures in your dishwasher. It also repels food odors and flavours so your food will actually taste better when it is stored in glass and it is noticeably better on the environment, even recycling glass is better for the planet than recycling plastic! All of that being said there are certain things that are okay to store in plastic if you don't want to run out and buy all new containers this very second. 

HAVE TO STORE IN GLASS:

  • Fats - Oils, Nuts, Nut Butter, Tahini, Sauces, Etc.
  • Spices 
  • Citrus Fruits - Lemon, Lime, Orange and Grapefruit 
  • Dried Fruit
  • Sugars
  • Coffee
  • Loose Leaf Tea
  • Yeast - Nutritional or Baking
  • Any Leftover Food/Meals 
  • Meal Prep

OKAY TO STORE IN PLASTIC:

*It's always best to store in glass if possible*

  • Flour 
  • Vegetables and Fruits - Not Citrus Based*
  • Protein Powder 
  • Grains
  • Dried Beans and Legumes
  • Pasta
  • Cereal/Granola

I hope that you found this helpful and are feeling a lot more confident in the fact that you now know how to store your food as safely as possible for you and your family!

xo -LU 

KITCHEN MAKEOVER SERIES PART 2: READING FOOD LABELS LIKE A BOSS

Okay I get it there are certain things that we are probably never going to make from scratch and in that case we have to buy them packaged which is totally fine! I also know that you're busy and that sometimes you can't help it if you get stranded out somewhere without food or run out of time to make dinner and then you suddenly find yourself running through the grocery store looking for something convenient and in that moment pre-made/packaged food sounds like a great idea so in a hangry and confused blur you blindly grab something and are left heating up an "all natural" frozen burrito (again) and questioning your life's decisions. It's okay, we've all been there sister.

Most people assume that food labels are pretty simple to read and go by the philosophy of; don't buy anything with ingredients that you don't recognize and while this is totally true there is actually a lot more that you need to know when it comes to reading labels. But don't fear, thats why you have me! I'm going to teach you the good the bad and the ugly when it comes to reading food labels. 

Let me start off by saying that if a package says; Low Fat, Low Carb, Low Sugar, Low Salt, Low Calorie, 0 Calorie or all of the above you should probably (definitely) stay away from it. While all of those may sound like healthier alternatives to the uneducated consumer, low anything usually means high in chemicals and fillers and low in nutrients so if you're trying to get healthy I would suggest steering clear of these products. 

Now that we've covered the front of the package let's dive into the fine print, the ingredients list.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

  • “Artificial Flavour” - 1500 on the market
  • “Natural Flavour” - 500 on the market 
  • Caramel Flavour - Found in pop and low calorie food
  • BHT and BHA - Artificial preservatives 
  • Sulfites - Found in dried fruit, pickled foods and wine 
  • Nitrates and Nitrites - Found in processed & smoked meat
  • Propyl Paraben or ANY Paraben
  • Propyl Gallate 
  • Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, Acesulfame Potassium -Artificial sugars
  • Brominated Vegetable Oil - Flame retardant found in drinks
  • Table Salt - You can almost always assume that if something does not say "sea salt" it is table salt.
  • MSG also labeled as: Monosodium Glutamate, Monopotassium Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Gelatin, Calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed protein, textured Protein, Yeast Extract, Autolyzed Yeast, Spice Extract, Yeast Nutrient - Causes allergic reactions, brain Damage, holes in the brain, cancer, etc.
  • Artificial Colours Specifically; Blue 1, Blue 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange 3, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 
  • Anything ending in "ase" and "ose", ending in "sugar", dextran, diastatic malt powder, ethyl maltol, fruit juice concentrates, syrup, maltodextrin, panela, corn fiber, sorghum, treacle - All artificial sugars. 
  • "All Natural" or "Natural Ingredientsor "Natural"- There is no regulation that decides what exactly this means which means that it could still have unnatural ingredients in it.
  •  

HOW TO KNOW HOW MUCH OF AN INGREDIENT IS IN A PRODUCT

Luckily most ingredients on the label are ordered from the highest quantity to the lowest except for the following:

  • Natural and Artificial Flavours 
  • Food Additives 
  • Vitamins 
  • Salts and Vitamin Derivatives 
  • Mineral Nutrients 
  • Salts of Mineral Nutrients 
  • Spices, Seasoning, Herbs (minus salt) 
  • Flavour Enhancers

This is why it is so important to read the label before you buy because even if artificial flavours are written as the last ingredient, it doesn’t mean the quantity in the product is low. A general rule to use when buying packaged foods is to aim to only purchase foods with 6 ingredients or less. 

Okay so now that I've told you what to look out for and probably scared you out of ever venting into the middle aisles of the grocery store ever again (whoops) it's time to talk about what to look for when you really are all out of options or you're not super keen on grinding your own peanuts for your peanut butter or pressing your own soybeans for tofu.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • USD or Canada Certified Organic - This means that the product was grown, processed and made with 95% or more organic ingredients.
  • NON GMO - This means that the product was grown without genetic modification or was made without genetically modified ingredients. 
  • Certified Vegan - Made without any animal products, animal testing or animal cruelty. 
  • Certified Gluten Free (GF) - Made without gluten.
  • Soy Free - Made without soy products or fillers.
  • Dairy Free - Made without dairy, butter, etc.
  • Sugar Free - Contains less than 0.5g of sugar.
  • High Fiber - Contains more than 5g of fiber. 
  • Halal - Meat slaughtered and prepared as prescribed by Muslim law.
  • Kosher - Meat slaughtered and prepared as prescribed by Jewish law.

When you're buying pre-made and packaged foods it's important to make sure that anything that is in the food is something you would regularly eat on it's own, for example if you're buying a protein bar would you choose one where the ingredients list is a mile long or one that is made with 5 real food ingredients? When it comes to food labels less is always more, my general rule is I try to find something that is made with actual food and with the least ingredients possible.

MY GO TO PRE-MADE/PACKAGED FOODS

  • RXBAR Protein Bars - Find them here 
  • GoMacro Protein Bars - Find them here 
  • Prana Organics, trail mixes, dried fuit, etc - Find them here
  • Herbaland Protein Gummies - Find them here
  • Alter Eco Chocolate - Find it here
  • Organic Natural Nut Butter - Look for any where the only ingredient is the nut (and maybe sea salt)
  • Sunrise Foods Organic NON GMO Extra Firm Tofu - Find it here
  • Sunrise Foods Organic NON GMO Smoked Tofu - Use above link
  • Hummus - Look for minimal ingredients (chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, seasonings)
  • Gt's Kombucha - Low in sugar, I like the Gingerade flavour.
  • Cold Pressed Organic Juice - Make sure the only ingredients are actual fruit and vegetables, no concentrates or added sugars. 
  • Unsweetened Nut Milk - Look for the least ingredients possible, no added sugar and if possible fortified with vitamin B for extra nutrition!
  • Silver Hills Brand or Ezekiel Brand Sprouted Bread 

Labels don't have to be complicated, I know that it can seem a little intimidating when the front of the package says one thing and the ingredients list says another but if you use the tips I just gave you and always go for things with real whole food ingredients you will be just fine! Next week on my Kitchen Makeover Series I will be teaching you how to store all of the different kinds of food you now have on hand because you used my grocery list to keep them fresh and maintain their nutrients the longest, see you then!

xo -LU

KITCHEN MAKEOVER SERIES PART 1: GROCERY & PANTRY STAPLES

KITCHEN1.jpg

Over the past couple of weeks i have been sharing little clips of my grocery shopping on my Instagram (shameless plug @lulugodin) and a ton of you have asked me to share my actual grocery lists and tips so I've come up with a 4 part blog series that will hopefully help all of you walk into the grocery store and your kitchen with confidence. I will launch each new blog post every Thursday for the next 4 weeks so let's get into it, shall we. 

 I personally love the grocery store and could spend hours in there reading labels and fining new things, theres something so calming to me about grocery shopping.. I know I know who does that right? But if you're not like me - which most "normal" people aren't - grocery shopping is probably not high up on your list of favourite activities. You probably want to get in and get out as fast as humanely possible and that can result in putting little to no effort into a list (if you even make one) and buying whatever you see first no matter the cost or quality. 

So this is where my grocery store loving nutrition nerd self comes in handy for YOU. I am sharing my top grocery and pantry staples with you guys so that you can get the most out of your shop and have tons of good stuff on hand to whip up some easy and healthy meals!

BULK DRY GOODS

  • Beans & Legumes - I like to by organic dry beans for the most part because they're cheaper and because canned beans can often be contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals from the lining in the can. My go to's are: chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans and lentils.
  • Rice & Grains - I always buy organic when it comes to rice and grains because they are very heavily sprayed crops, bleached, polished and refined (all of which strip away nutrients). Go to's: brown rice, wild rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, rolled oats and quick oats. 
  • Flours - Again I always like to buy organic because of the same reasons that I mentioned above for the rice and grains. Go to's: oat flour (I make this myself), coconut flour, gluten free flour, buckwheat flour, unbleached white flour and brown flour. 
  • Pasta - I'm an Italian girl who grew up on pasta a minimum of 3x per week so yes pasta is a staple in my diet and no it does not make you fat, moderation is key. That being said I do tend to lean towards the healthier more nutrient dense options and as mentioned above when it comes to anything made from a grain I buy organic. Go to's: Banza chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta, black bean pasta, whole grain pasta. 
  • Dried Fruit & Berries - When it comes to dried fruit I buy organic, unsulfured and unsweetened, a lot of the time dried fruit has cane sugar and sulphur added to sweeten and preserve. Go to's: dates (technically these aren't dried as they are naturally dry), prunes, figs, mango slices, goji berries, mulberries and golden berries.
  • Nuts & Seeds - I buy organic raw nuts and seeds because that way I know that they have ZERO oils, salts, chemicals, etc. Go to's: almonds, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts (1 per day = RDA of Selenium), chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds - *our bodies cannot digest whole flax seeds so it is important to either buy ground flax or grind your own whole flax seeds before you consume them*

 

CANNED FOODS

I prefer to buy beans and legumes dry as I said before but I do keep some canned beans in the pantry for "emergencies" - make sure if you're buying canned goods to look for organic and no salt added or low sodium. If possible look for chemical free on the can as well - this means the lining inside of the can is free of toxic chemicals. 

 

  • Chickpeas
  • Black Beans
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Whole Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste 
  • Sweet Corn
  • Black Olives
  • Organic NON GMO Coconut Milk

PRODUCE

Let me start off by saying that I know how expensive it can get trying to buy all of your produce organic so my top tips are always go for produce from small local farms when possible because they are less likely to spray their crops otherwise use the dirty dozen(12) clean 15 method when shopping. For those of you who aren't familiar with that method don't fear, it's actually very simple - the produce listed under the Clean 15 have the least amount of pesticides used during growing, picking and processing so they can be bought conventionally and the produce listed under the Dirty 12 should be bought organic as they have thin skin and the highest pesticide count.

CLEAN 15

 

 

  • Mushrooms 
  • Onions 
  • Sweet corn 
  • Pineapple 
  • Mangoes 
  • Cantaloupe 
  • Kiwi 
  • Avocado 
  • Asparagus 
  • Sweet peas 
  • Eggplant 
  • Cabbage 
  • Sweet Potatoes 
  • Grapefruit 
  • Watermelon

DIRTY 12

  • Apples 
  • Celery 
  • Strawberries 
  • Blueberries 
  • Peaches 
  • Spinach 
  • Cucumber 
  • Grapes 
  • Nectarines 
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers 
  • Greens - Kale/Lettuce/Collard

OTHER STAPLE PRODUCE - I BUY LOCAL & ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE

  • Lemons
  • Garlic
  • Ginger Root
  • Turmeric Root
  • Cilantro
  • Bananas
  • Zucchini 
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Butternut Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash

PROTEIN

As most of you know I personally don't eat meat but I will include it for those of you who do! When it comes to animal protein it is crucial to buy pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free and local meats. Animal agriculture is the top purchaser of pharmaceutical drugs in the world and the drugs and hormones that are fed to the animals to prevent disease and increase size get passed on to us when we consume the meat of these animals which can lead to antibiotic resistance, hormone imbalance and many other risks. The same goes for fish and seafood, you always want to purchase and consume fresh, wild caught, cold water fish this lowers the chance of the fish having a high concentration of mercury and pollution built up in their bodies which is passed on when we consume them.

  • Chicken Breast, Thigh or Whole Chicken
  • Turkey Breast
  • Ground Bison
  • Lamb
  • Whole Pasture Raised Eggs
  • Cage Free, Free Rage Egg Whites
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Snapper
  • Cod
  • Canned Tuna (look for low sodium and low mercury)

PACKAGED VEGAN MEAT ALTERNATIVES

I always have tofu and at least one "fake" meat alternative on hand. It's important to purchase Organic and NON GMO when it comes to soy products as soy is one of the most heavily GMO crops in the world. 

  • Organic NON GMO Tempeh
  • Organic NON GMO Tofu
  • Organic NON GMO Smoked Tofu - game changing-ly good
  • Organic Seitan
  • Yves Brand - Veggie Dogs
  • Yves Brand - Veggie Burgers
  • Beyond Meat Brand -   Veggie Crumbles or Burger
  • Fieldroast Brand - Sausages and Burgers

COOKING OILS

When it comes to cooking oil you want to stay away from the light cooking oils like canola, etc. These two oils have a high smoke point so you are avoiding any possible carcinogens developing during heating/cooking.

  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil

NON COOKING OILS

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Flax Oil
  • Udo’s Oil
  • Hemp Oil

SUPERFOODS

These are completely optional and should be viewed as supplements to your diet but I use them daily and figured I'd include them! Please do your own research before adding any new superfood into your diet. Pro tip: you can buy most of these in bulk in smaller (cheaper) amounts to try them out and see if you like them enough to invest in a full container!

  • Cacao 
  • Maca 
  • Ashwaganda
  • Camu Camu Berry
  • Chlorella 
  • Chlorophyll 
  • Spirulina 

SPICES

I feel like a broken record but it's super important to purchase organic spices because most of the time with spices you are directly consuming the leaf/bud of the plant which is not often protected from harmful chemicals. I personally LOVE spices and have an entire shelf full of them but I'll keep it short and sweet and only list my top 10 for your sake.

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper
  • Red Chili Flakes
  • Cumin
  • Garam Masala
  • Curry Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric 
  • Himalayan Pink Salt 

OTHER

  • Unsweetened Nut Milk - my favourite is Silk Brand cashew milk or home made almond milk
  • Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt - I like Silk or Yosso Brand 
  • Low Sugar Kombucha - I like GT's Brand
  • Cold Pressed Juices
  • Organic Tea - my favourites are; peppermint, ginger, earl grey, chai and dandelion root
  • Organic NON GMO Coconut Water - only ingredient should be the coconut water 
  • Nutritional Yeast - good source of plant based protein and B vitamins
  • Organic Whole Grain Rice Cakes
  • Silver Hills Brand Sprouted Vegan Bread - sprouted grains are high in protein and easier to digest 
  • Organic Vegan Chocolate Bar - made with cacao not cocoa, sweetened with organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Raw Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Stevia
  • Nut Butter's *Only ingredient should be the nut and possibly sea salt* - my favourites are; almond, peanut and cashew.
  • Coconut Butter (Mana)
  • Plant Based Protein Powder - My favourite is Vega Sport Vanilla
  • Protein Bars - My favourites are; GoMacro, Square Organics, RXBAR and Simply Protein 

BOOM! Okay I know that was a lot of information but I wanted to make this super informative and give you guys a ton of different options because I know that people have likes and dislikes. Next week on my Kitchen Makeover Series I am going to be sharing how to read food labels, exactly what additive ingredients to look out for and what to do if you're in a pinch and have to buy remade or packaged food. I know right.. get excited!

xo -LU

REMOVING FEAR AND GUILT FROM FOOD + OVERCOMING BINGE EATING

LULU6.jpg

Food can be a scary concept, as someone who used to struggle with disordered eating I know that first hand. I also know that it may sound a little messed up to actually say that out loud because it's just food but to me it wasn't and to a lot of other people it isn't either. 

I know what it's like to be afraid to go out with friends because you don't think that the restaurant will have an option that "suits your diet" or your friends might want to get dessert and the thought of indulging in something unhealthy and possibly opening up the flood gates to more unhealthy food or a full on binge is terrifying to you. I know what it's like to go to the gym as a punishment with the guilt of last nights binge weighing on you. I know what it's like to look in the mirror and be forced to look at a body you are not happy in, to pose and flex every muscle, to suck in your stomach, to squeeze your skin and wish that you saw something different. I used to have these thoughts too, all the time.. I get it. 

My disordered eating started when I was around 17 - I tried every diet and restrictive eating method there was, I obsessed over every single thing that I put into my body and fought myself on my body image for years and I was absolutely miserable the entire time. I didn't tell my parents or even my friends about how I was feeling, I thought the less that they knew the better because I didn't want anyone to try to intervene. I pretended I had already eaten when friends would ask me to go out for food. I did hours of cardio because I wanted to be thin and I probably read somewhere that cardio was the best way to achieve that. I only ever exercised to "work off" food and I saw it as a way to try and change the body that I hated living in. I only ate what I thought was healthy - low calorie, low carb, low fat. This mindset caused me to feel very restricted and lead to me binging (hard) almost daily on everything I could find which left me feeling worse than I did before and guilty for what I assumed I had just done to my body and my progress - and then I would do it all over again. It was a viscous cycle.

My obsession with being healthy consumed me, I was so fixated on looking a certain way and in the back of my mind I was sure I would never look how I wanted to. I would spend hours looking at pictures of models, celebrities, fitness gurus and girls I knew and wonder why I didn't look like them - why my stomach wasn't as toned or my butt wasn't as big as theirs. I would pick my body apart piece by piece and make myself feel awful and then I would turn to food to make me feel better.

I would binge because I hated my body and I was convinced that I only hated my body because I binged.

A little over two years ago I found macro based dieting and it helped me actually regain control over food. It helped me find balance between what I wanted to eat and what I could eat because if I really wanted to eat something that was not "healthy" I could fit it into my macros and eat it without guilt. This way of eating worked really well for me for about a year but unfortunately my obsessiveness towards food slowly started to come back, only now it was in the form of numbers. I got to a point where I was so consumed by the numbers of my macros that if I did not hit them perfectly I would actually get stressed out and start to put myself down for it. I weighed everything that I ate, I would look things up before I went out and eat next to nothing all day to make sure I could fit a certain meal in later and if I went over then I would make myself feel like shit for not being good enough at it. 

So I decided enough was enough, I deleted my macro tracking app and I slowly started to eat what I wanted to, when I wanted to and because I wanted to. I would be lying to you though if I said that I let go of all restriction overnight just like that. I was still thinking of my macros in the back of my head and I was still restricting myself of certain foods that I didn't exactly classify as "clean" but it was a start. It was actually only a couple of months ago that I truly started to fully understand the concept of listening to my body's cues and eating intuitively - I talk about this more in my Intuitive Eating Post. Intuitive eating is a completely different ball park than what I was used to and it has taken me a long time to get to a point where I actually feel comfortable and confident in what I am putting in my body and don't feel guilty if I'm hungrier some days or am craving something out of my usual norm. 

I am not perfect and I have days where I find myself thinking about how many calories a certain food has or if I can "fit" a food into my day without overindulging or sometimes I eat too many treats after dinner and start to feel guilty but I have learned to catch myself in these thought processes and remind myself that tomorrow is a new day and that life is a constant journey full of self growth.

It's normal for old thoughts and habits to trickle back in some times but it's up to me to remember that that is not how I want to live my life anymore. I spent such a huge part of my life focused on eating healthy and "perfectly" that I completely lost touch with what food really is; fuel, nourishment and enjoyment! If you think about it food is one of the greatest enjoyments in life, every single milestone is celebrated in one way or another with food.

I think that what has been the biggest factor in my journey is the fact that I decided that I didn't want to let food or how I felt about my body control my life anymore. I didn't want to watch other people enjoy food and eat freely anymore while I sat on the sidelines. I didn't want to spend every day wishing that my body looked a certain way or that my jeans were a size smaller.

Becoming a Trainer and Nutritionist has also played a huge part in my journey, it has opened my eyes to so much that I was missing out on and I've learned so much about how to properly workout and fuel my body. I eat to nourish myself and to make my body, mind and spirit feel good and I eat carbs and healthy fats at almost every meal now, which is something that I never thought I would say. I exercise 5-6x a week but my reasoning is so much different than it was before. I workout because I love my body and I love to push myself and see what I'm capable of! And you know what? I'm closer now to my fitness goals than ever before, because I stopped obsessing and decided that I was going to love the process, the journey and myself in all stages. 

I decided that restriction and having abs does not equal happiness to me and I haven't looked back since.  

I have never felt so free and positive when it comes to food, fitness and my body in my entire life, I workout when I want to and eat what I want to, when I want to and I feel amazing. Don't get me wrong though I eat a very healthy diet - I crave healthy food, I love veggies and fruit and healthy complex carbs and good fats and my daily meals consist of mostly real whole foods but I also love a glass of wine (or two) on a Friday night with my boyfriend and pancakes with real maple syrup on a Sunday morning and chocolate after dinner and warm banana bread and yam fries and I enjoy all of these things regularly now. I practice balance and I allow myself to eat what makes me feel good. That to me is happiness. 

I'm at a point in my life and journey where I no longer see food as something to be feared. I see it as what it really is, something to be enjoyed.

If you're struggling with disordered eating, body image issues or self love please ask for help. I know what it's like to not want to think a certain way anymore but not know how to escape your mindset. Send me a message, I'm always here to help. 

xo -LU

HOW TO HANDLE THE HOLIDAYS BY EATING INTUITIVELY

With the holiday season comes a lot of joy, laughter, excitement, craziness and of course stress - stress about spending money on gifts, about making sure you make time for everyone, about having to attend multiple family and social gatherings and of course about potentially over indulging in food, drink and overall merriment. 

It's not a coincidence that all the most common New Years Resolutions - that immediately follow the holidays - usually contain some kind of diet, exercise or general weight loss plan. We have been brainwashed to think that the holidays are detrimental to our health and that there is no way to get out alive so we might as well just indulge for a month straight, feel shitty and then make ourselves a false promise to do better in the new year right? Wrong. 

One of the main problems during the holidays is that people often have this all or nothingattitude when it comes to food, they see things as black and white and there is little to no grey area. People often tend to restrict themselves all day in preparation for a big festive meal later which leads to binging at said meal or they throw all self control out the window because they know that a big meal is coming which also leads to binging but it's more likely to last all day (or month) long. Whatever your plan of attack may be, both lead to an unhealthy mindset surrounding what should be a joyous time and an unintentional excess in food which probably results in you feeling quite sick, guilty and defeated.

We live in a time where diet culture is our culture, everywhere you look there are half naked models promoting fad diets, influencers writing posts on "how not to gain weight during the holidays" and corporate gyms having new years promos because they know that there will be a small army of people marching through their doors on January first feeling guilty about what they chose to consume over the last month. It would honestly be more abnormal for us not to have these thoughts of fear, guilt and punishment for our food choices because at the end of the day it is how we are told to think.

Unfortunately diet and restriction is so ridiculously normal to most of us that we don't even consider the fact that by obsessing so heavily over what we're putting in our bodies we are actually missing out on the most important part of the holidays - the actual enjoyment of time and togetherness with our loved ones.

There is more to the holiday season than dreading an extra glass of wine or a couple of sugar cookies.

Think about it this way - if you spend an entire holiday dinner obsessing over how many calories are in it did you actually enjoy that dinner or was it a waste? If you spent all day thinking about how many burpees you were going to have to do to burn off your favourite dessert only to become stressed when the dish hit the table was it worth it? All of this obsession is not only creating a negative mindset about food but about the holidays in general. I don't know how many times this week alone that I read some kind of post about holiday food anxiety and it honestly makes me cringe because I used to feel that way and I know exactly what kind of thoughts are going on in those people's heads. Learn more about my transition into Intuitive Eating HERE..

MAKING THE MENTAL SWITCH

I think that the first and possibly most important thing that you can do is slow down, take a step back and be thankful for the fact that you even have food to stress over. A lot of people all over the world do not even have enough food to fill their bellies daily let alone an excessive amount to dread dealing with. Food is not only a form of enjoyment but it is a basic human necessity and something that our body's actually need to not only survive but to thrive, remember that.

Second, it's important to know that restriction and stress just lead to binging - If you stress and starve yourself all day you are 100% more likely to eat everything in your path when you do finally let yourself eat. I know my hunger and my mentality pretty well at this point and I know that if I let myself go too long without eating I will get hangry and probably eat a snack while making another snack to have before my actual meal and then be uncomfortably full which is not enjoyable for anyone.

Third, fuel yourself prior to your party or dinner or whatever you may be attending later. DO NOT look at this as a way to prepare your body or mind for indulging, you don't have to eat salad all day and be miserable in order to save room in your calories. Eat normally, eat balanced and eat what your body wants and needs. 

Pro Tip: Drinking lots of water throughout the day can also help your digestion move along a little better as you may be eating things your body isn't super used to.

Finally, you need to forget about the diets and stop thinking about how much cardio it takes to burn off a plate of stuffing and mashed potatoes. You have to learn to just ignore the tabloids, the Instagram posts and the talk of new years resolutions, they will all still be there once the holidays have come and gone. There is a time for working out and a time for sitting on your butt with your family while laughing and eating your mothers famous baked goods - be able to separate the two.

What I've learned through Intuitive Eating is that once you take the labeling of good and bad and the restriction away from food and just let yourself see it as food you start to want the things that you used to obsess over less. I used to crave desserts - cookies, cakes, chocolate you name it I wanted it and I wanted it all the time. I would obsess over sweets until I cracked and then I would binge and eat a whole box of cookies instead of the 1 that I likely would've eaten if I had just allowed myself and my body what it wanted - because I viewed them as "unhealthy" and restricted myself it became an unhealthy obsession. Now if I want something sweet I'll have it, likely be satisfied and then move on so yes all of the holiday baking excites me but I don't feel the need to binge on it all at once because I'm no longer deprived.

The most important thing when it comes to eating intuitively no matter what time of year it is - is being able to listen to your body, it is way smarter than you (no offence) and it knows exactly what it needs and when it needs it. If you feel hungry, eat and if you feel full, stop - it's simple. 

Just like all of life, the holidays should be enjoyed. Live in the moment, appreciate your people, make memories - eat, drink and be merry.. 

xo -LU

THE INS AND OUTS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING + MY EXPERIENCE WITH IBS

THE BACK STORY

It's no secret that I suffer from digestive issues (more specifically IBS), I'm super open about it with you guys because I know that it's something that a lot of people suffer from and we as a society don't really talk about it enough. Did you know that to be classified as having good digestion means that you're going to the bathroom at least once a day (yes I mean number two), when you go to the bathroom it passes easily and without much effort, you're not waking up bloated or getting bloated after you eat and you are not left feeling crampy, nauseas, gassy or uncomfortable more often than not after eating. If you just read any of those and thought to yourself "uh oh" then you may be suffering from digestive issues and not even know it. 

For a long time I had no idea that I was suffering from digestive issues let alone IBS, I just thought it was normal to not go to the bathroom regularly and be bloated all the time. You may read that and think how could you possibly think that that's normal but after that being my every day life for 2 years it was my normal. 

I've tried everything, supplements, vitamins, cleanses, elimination diets - the list goes on and on and on. I have purposely gotten my body to a place where my metabolism fires effectively and quickly between meals because I have been told that this would improve my digestion, I have eaten every 3 hours for over 2 years now and I thought that I was doing everything right - I never would have thought that eating so frequently could actually be making my digestion worse.

Most fitness professionals, weight loss specialists and personal trainers tell us that we should be eating 5-6 small meals every 2.5-3 hours daily to increase our metabolism and make sure that we are moving in the right direction towards our fitness goals and while this does in fact increase our metabolism, it also causes our insulin levels to dramatically spike and drop more often than they should. Insulin is one of the most important hormones in the body and it’s important that we  understand and manage it properly - when you eat a meal sugar enters your blood stream in the form of glucose, your pancreas then secretes insulin to manage the sugar in your blood and transports the sugar to your cells and then basically asks your cells if the sugar can enter. If you are constantly spiking your insulin and forcing your pancreas to over work then over time both your pancreas and cells become tired and your cells will no longer respond as well to insulin - this is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is commonly caused by eating a highly refined and processed diet, what most people don't know it it is also caused by poor gut and liver health and depleted gut flora - the good bacteria in our guts. When we eat as frequently as every 3 hours it can actually often times back up our digestive system causing food to sit stagnant in our intestines and - for lack of a better term - start to decompose or rot which in turn can deplete our gut flora.

I'm sure you can imagine that as a Nutrition Student this kind of stuff is fascinating to me and I luckily have access to tons of different sources of information so when I want to get to the bottom of something I know exactly which resources to use and I can hunt down the answers. So obviously once I discovered the harm I may be causing to my digestive system due to the frequency of my eating habits I decided to look into other eating methods/habits/practices specifically for optimal digestion and I came across Intermittent Fasting.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?

From an unknowing outside perspective intermittent fasting - aside from being hard to pronounce - didn't really sound like something that would have ever interested me. I figured that it was just another weight loss strategy and I never really paid much attention to the posts or videos that I have seen mention it in the past. It wasn't until I actually started researching it that I realized the benefits are far greater than just weight loss. 

Let me start off by saying that intermittent fasting is NOT a diet, it is not a form of restriction, you don't cut your calories and you don't eat less than you normally would in a day. To sum it up into simple terms intermittent fasting (let's call it IF for short) is fasting for a prolonged period of time and then eating more substantial amounts of food during a shorter period of time than you normally would. No I don't mean fasting for 24 hours or anything crazy like that (people do this) I just mean eating a little later than usual and not snacking right before bed - we all fast while we sleep so think of it as just pushing your breakfast a few more hours.

IF can actually regulate your digestive system and get your bowel movements back on track because it gives your system a longer rest from processing foods. It can also kickstart your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently when you do eat! By fasting for a prolonged period of time you're actually allowing your body to digest everything from the previous day and be completely clear before you put anything new into your system.

There are a ton of different methods, schedules and preferences when it comes to IF, as I just said some people fast for an entire day - I could never do that, I would be miserable - there is also meal skipping, alternate-day fasting, eat stop eat and a ton of others. I chose to try the more popular method which is the 16:8 method. This means that I fast for 16 hours and eat during 8 hours, keep in mind that most of my fasting time is while I'm sleeping so it really isn't too crazy. On a day when I'm fasting I wake up at 6:30am, have my lemon water and then my coffee, do some work and then head to the gym to do my workout fasted and then I get home and eat my first meal at 11am right after my workout and I stop eating at 7pm - this actually works really well for my schedule and still allows me to eat an actual breakfast before noon which is important to me because breakfast is my favourite meal of the day (duh)! 

You're probably wondering about the fact that I just said I have coffee during my fasting period, you can have coffee, tea and BCAA's (if you workout) during your fasting period and it will not disrupt anything. As long as what you're consuming is under 100-200ish calories then you're good to go. So I have a coffee with Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer when I wake up - this has been game changing when it comes to IF - and then I have my vegan BCAA's a couple of hours later during my workout and this allows my body to still stay in a fasted state! I also drink a ton of water to keep my hunger under control and my body hydrated during fasting.

It's also important for me to note that as a woman you actually are not supposed to practice IF every single day because our hormones are very sensitive to our energy intake (food). When we fast our hormone production can increase and some women who practice IF daily experience missed periods, metabolic disturbances, and even early menopause. AKA practicing IF every day as a woman is a BIG NO NO. So my own personal preference and solution to this is; I do IF 5 days a week and on my 2 leg days I do not fast at all, I wake up and eat breakfast right away which is actually really beneficial because those are my 2 heaviest training days so i need the food and energy prior to my workout. 

Going from someone who has eaten within 30 minutes of waking up and then eaten every 3 hours 6x a day for over 2 years to someone who doesn't eat until 11am and then eats 3 large meals and maybe 1 snack was absolutely daunting at first but I have been doing IF successfully for about 3 weeks now and honestly my digestion has never been this good. I go to the bathroom right when I wake up, every single day and I can't remember the last time that that was the case for me. I'm not bloated when I wake up or after I eat, I don't experience any indigestion, cramping or nausea after my meals and I actually feel full and satisfied all the way until my next meal. I'm also making sure that I'm not too strict to the point where I feel like I'm implementing something negative into my life, if I'm hungry 30 minutes earlier than the start of my eating window in the morning or after my eating window ends in the evening then I will eat, to me it's all about listening to my body and doing what makes me feel good. 

Working out fasted was a little bit challenging at first and there were a few days that I felt light headed towards the end but just like with everything else that I do in life I made sure to listen to my body and did not push myself to a point where I was unable to workout or needed to leave the gym. I know my body's limits and now that I'm used to the fasted workouts I feel amazing during and after, I'm also noticing much quicker results than I am used to - if you don't know, I've been on a gradual cut for about 8 weeks now for a vacation I'm going on in 3.5 weeks and I'm already almost at my goal. In the last 3 weeks while doing IF I have lost 2lbs of fat and still been able to maintain and gain muscle mass which is usually unheard of for my body!

I want to make it clear that I am in no way saying that IF is a magical weight loss strategy. I eat a very clean, mostly plant based diet, I exercise quite intensely 6 days a week and I know my body and am actually certified in the fitness and nutrition industry so adding IF into my life was not challenging for me. Every single body is so different and what works for me may not work for you but if you are suffering from digestive issues and on paper it seems like you are doing everything right for your digestive system and you just can't seem to figure out why you can't poop (sorry) then IF could actually work for you. 

If you're thinking of giving IF a try I would definitely recommend not jumping in head first - start my pushing your breakfast back an hour every few days until you feel comfortable prolonging it until 11am or 12pm. You also do not need to be ridiculously strict about your eating and fasting windows, as I said there are days where I eat 30 minutes before or after 11am or 7pm just because of how my schedule or hunger levels are that day.

Just like anything else in fitness, health and life you have to base whether things work for you off of your own experience and you have to do what feels right for you!

xo

-LU 

MY 1-DAY JUICE CLEANSE EXPERIENCE

Okay I know what you're all thinking.. why would anyone ever want to go a whole day (or more) without eating? That sounds awful, I totally agree! 

Juice cleanses seem to be all the rage lately, everyone from celebrities to health influencers to your best friends mom have been trying them and the results and reviews have been pretty amazing. I personally have been thinking about doing a juice cleanse for a while - no not to lose weight, more to give my body a full reset. 

I've changed my diet dramatically multiple times over the past few months and I think it's safe to say that I royally confused my body and my digestive system and caused my iBS to flare up. To make a long story short I went into prep and my animal protein consumption went way up and then I decided not to compete and came out of prep and went back into more of a plant based pescatarian diet - meaning I eat fish maybe once a week and eggs occasionally and other then that everything I eat is plant based. Which I figured would do good things for my body and my digestion but it hasn't been as fab as I expected and unfortunately my digestion and hormones have paid the price over the last few weeks.

Enter the juice cleanse.

I got the idea well over a month ago and did a lot of research and found a local company that I liked but I had some serious commitment issues surrounding the idea and just kind of let it sit on the back burner for a few weeks. After all, I couldn't not eat food for a whole day thats insane right

Last week my digestion took a turn for the worst, to spare you the details lets just say that movement was nonexistent and I was actually getting concerned about it and by concerned I mean I was freaking out. From someone who has always suffered with gut issues and more recently IBS, the second that something goes south (or doesn't I guess? haha bad joke) you deal with it. So I committed to the juice cleanse, I placed my order and then I instantly regretted it. 

I just spent $65.00 on juice.. WHO DO I THINK I AM?

The juices were delivered on Monday night so that I could cleanse on Tuesday and when I opened the box to put them all in the fridge I was actually surprisingly excited to do this. 

THE CLEANSE

Okay so the morning started as usual, my boyfriend made me my coffee with almond milk and handed it to me when I walked into the kitchen oh and then I remembered I wasn't allowed to have caffeine  - why did I do this to myself again? The first juice was called "The Kickstarter" which seemed fitting, it had apple. cucumber, lemon, ginger & cayenne in it and it was actually really delicious! Juice #1 was a success, I did miss my usual oats and almond butter and coffee (duh) but other than that I was feeling good - I might actually survive this thing! 

I headed to the gym as usual, I actually do a fasted workout a couple times a week so working out without food in my system was not a struggle for me whatsoever, workout was good, no lightheadedness or anything out of the ordinary, I was feeling a little hungry but nothing crazy. I replaced my usual post workout protein smoothie with my second juice, a green juice with apple which is my usual go to when it comes to juice so I was excited to drink this one - it didn't disappoint.  I actually had a surprising amount of energy at this point so I jumped right into some work.

At around 2pm my energy levels started to crash, I was 3 juices deep and at this point I started to feel pretty light headed and my vision started to blur a little bit. I went for my fourth juice - an all green juice with zero fruit.. yum.. okay it wasn't exactly delicious and for that reason it took me about 30 minutes to finish which actually helped stabilize my blood sugar. 

I was okay for about an hour and then I hit a pretty intense wall of exhaustion so I decided to just relax and rest a bit because I still had a client to train at 4:30pm that I needed to be somewhat enthusiastic for.

And then the caffeine migraine hit.. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to caffeine by any means but I do have a cup every morning and have done so for years so going a day without it sends your body, nervous system and hormones into a state of total confusion and panic. 

Just before my client I slammed back juice #5 it was delicious and full of fruit so it gave me pretty solid boost of energy.. for about 20 minutes and then it was back to the splitting headache and delirium. Just get through the next 30 minutes, you can do it.

My next juice wasn't a juice at all it was actually a nut and seed milk with dates, sea salt and vanilla and it had a whopping 42g of fat and 25g of protein in it - think dinner without the chewing. I had been excited for this one all day because I figured I'd actually be satisfied and full after it and I was right. But I think after a day of nothing but liquid carbohydrates my body went a little bit into shock from this plant based milkshake - I felt so nauseas I actually had to lay down and close my eyes to refrain from throwing up $65.00 worth of organic cold pressed juice. 

The nausea passed really quickly (thank god) and I felt AMAZING - woohoo can I do this forever?

I drank my final digestive green juice right before bed and looked forward to chewing something in the morning. I broke my cleanse the next morning with some organic gluten free steel cut oats and banana, something simple and easy to digest. 

POST CLEANSE

I honestly felt and still feel amazing, my bloating went down completely and my digestion is great. I have eaten fully plant based and continued to drink a green juice every day this week just to ease my body back into food and maintain how I'm feeling and so far so good. 

THE PROS

  • My digestion is back to normal - everything is moving along great. 
  • My bloating went down completely and stayed down.
  • Any of my usual sweet cravings have subsided - I think this is due to the fact that most of the juices had a good balance of both fruit and vegetables in them.
  • I have no desire to eat any animal products at all for a while because I don't want to waste my day of hard work (if I can really call it that).
  • Caffeine cravings are gone - I didn't even want caffeine the next day either. 

THE CONS

  • Juice cleanses can be pretty pricey.
  • Bottled juices have a ton of sugar in them even if they are organic and cold pressed - an insulin spike and weird energy levels are inevitable. 
  • Your first one is going to be a little bit of a rollercoaster of a day because your body is so used to solid foods. 
  • Working out may be difficult for some people while on a cleanse.
  • It is NOT a solution for weight loss, while I did lose about 3lbs it was all water weight and more so due to my bloating going down and my body ridding itself of any build up not any body fat. A juice cleanse is not a sustainable or healthy way to actually lose body fat.  

Overall I would day that my cleansing experience was a positive one aside from some energy level spikes and crashes and my body getting used to things. I'm certain that if I did another one it would be a lot easier as I would know what to expect. I will definitely be cleansing again, I think it's a great way to focus on yourself and your body for a day and give your body a full reset.

xo - LU

HOW TO COMBAT BLOAT & TACKLE YOUR FOOD INTOLERANCES

LEMON.jpg

Do your pants suddenly feel tight after you eat? We all know that feeling after we eat something that doesn’t exactly sit well in our stomach – it’s that I might need to unbutton my jeans kind of discomfort and if it happens more often than not it may not just be because you’re full. There is nothing that makes me wanna get up and dance more than being so uncomfortable post meal that I can’t move (I’m totally kidding). Unfortunately there’s nothing hot about being bloated and as someone who has struggled with not only bloat but digestion and overall gut health issues as well for years I know better than anyone how shitty it feels to look in the mirror and see your stomach so painfully extended and have no explanation as to why.

WHAT EXACTLY IS BLOAT?

Bloat is when your gut and stomach fill with gas and extend – often times people confuse being full for being bloated but they are not the same thing! We get full after we eat because we have food in our stomachs that hasn’t started to digest yet, but when we bloat we might not have any food in us at all! Bloat does usually feel like fullness or tightness in your stomach but happens when we are eating the wrong food for our body and our intestines, gut and stomach become inflamed. Bloat can also be accompanied by stomach pain, gas, stomach gurgling, sluggishness and depression (yikes).

WHY DO SOME OF US BLOAT MORE THAN OTHERS? 

There are multiple different reasons as to why your body may react the way it does to certain things you put into it and even if you are eating super clean your body simply may just not like what it’s being fed. How many times have you had a meal with a friend where you’re both eating the EXACT same thing and they feel fine after but you’re left feeling gassy and gross? It seems unfair doesn’t it?

All body’s are different – what digests easily for some may do some serious damage for others and a lot of us are actually living with food intolerances and have no idea.

For years I ate greek yogurt and kefir and took a dairy based protein powder and never thought anything of it I just thought that bloating and being uncomfortable after eating was normal (wtf right?). It wasn’t until last year that I actually put two and two together and realized that I was significantly more bloated and gassy after eating something dairy based so I cut out all dairy, switched my protein powder to a vegan one and I noticed a huge difference almost immediately! Unfortunately as someone who suffers from IBS my food intolerances/sensitivities are a little more severe than your average feeling of something "not sitting well" and I have to pay very close attention to how my body reacts to certain foods.

Keep in mind that what my body does and doesn’t like is not going to be the same for your body, I have found out my food intolerances through listening to MY own body and watching it react over the course of months and years, I didn’t discover these over night and neither will you. The bets way to figure out what it is exactly that is causing you to bloat is through trial and error, tests with my doctor and naturopath and elimination diets! I personally did not follow an actual elimination diet, I just used my education in nutrition and did it myself slowly but there are a ton of good ones out there like; Whole 30 which is totally free!

HOW TO KICK BLOAT IN THE BUTT!

  • Start your day with a glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice before eating or drinking anything else!
  • Take 1 oz of Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar daily – I use Bragg Foods
  • Introduce a Fermented Probiotic Food into your daily routine such as; Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Coconut Yogurt, etc!
  • Take a Probiotic Supplement daily – My favourite is Udo’s Choice Ultimate Probiotic
  • Start taking Digestive Enzymes – My favourite is Webber Naturals
  • Take time to chew your food properly when you eat – When you eat in a hurry you swallow a lot of air which causes gas so make sure you chew your food well with your mouth closed!
  • Limit raw veggie intake if you’re feeling bloated – Raw veggies are a lot harder to digest than steamed ones!
  • Get enough sleep – This effects all aspects of your body’s health
  • Go for a walk or do some yoga – Sometimes your body just needs to move in order to get things flowing but nothing too intense!
  • Don’t stress out over it – Stress hormones speed things up in the body which can increase digestion in a negative way and cause gas.

I’m actually really lucky because I have a strong passion for nutrition and the body and since being diagnosed with IBS I have been able to use what I’m learning in my Nutrition Program to help me figure this out for myself but I know that that isn’t the case for everyone and for some people they may just think that feeling uncomfortable after every meal is the norm but it’s definitely not. I’m here to tell you that you’re not supposed to feel gross after every meal you should feel full but energized and you sure as hell shouldn’t be uncomfortable in any way!

If you are struggling with indigestion and bloat it may be time to reflection on your diet, keep a food journal and record what you eat for each meal for a week and make notes as to how you feel after each meal! This is what I did at first and it helped me a ton because from there I was able to actually see on paper and make connections as to what was not working so that I could take certain foods out and put them back in and see how I reacted. This was the most helpful thing that I did for myself, personally I’m a visual learner and I like to see things on paper and be able to read them multiple times but that’s just me. It’s important to find and do what works for you because you know your body best!

Food is fuel and it is supposed to feel that way, always!

xo -LU

THE PRO'S WITH PROBIOTICS

PROBIOTIC.jpg

What exactly are probiotics and why do we need them in our diets? Probiotics are live microorganisms that help to prevent and treat some illnesses, they are a friendly kind of  bacteria that is crucial to not only our gut health but our overall health as well. Our digestive systems or “guts” are the most commonly effected system in our bodies which is scary to think of because our guts contain 60-80% of our immune system. Unhealthy guts have been linked to things such as; hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, rosacea, and other chronic health problems. An unhealthy gut really is SO much more than just bloating and gas (sorry) and that is why we need to keep our guts as healthy and happy as possible.. *cough* *cough* oh hey probiotics. 

Probiotics can be found in foods such as; kimchi, yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, etc. but getting enough on a daily basis just from food sources can sometimes be tough so that is where probiotic supplements come in. Now just like any other kind of vitamin or supplement there are tons of different types on the market so how do we pick the right one for us? Well a few things are important when choosing a probiotic; how may strains it contains, whether it is a probiotic or prebiotic as well as the actual number of probiotics each serving contains.

I have always suffered quite seriously from digestive problems and have recently been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so I personally have tried EVERYTHING under the sun when it comes to probiotics and it wasn’t until I made some pretty huge changes to my diet (one of which being including probiotic rich foods as well as a supplement) that I noticed actual changes. Most of the probiotics I have tried in the past work well at first but the dosage stays the same and eventually the effects would diminish and I would be almost back to where I started health wise. I found Silver Fern Brand on Instagram and I read great things so i decided to give them a try and reach out to them. This is the first probiotic that I have taken where they recommend you start on a lower dosage and then work up to a higher one after a week of taking the supplement which I found really interesting because to me that just screamed this is really going to last! Their probiotics also contain three of the most widely used and studied strains of probiotics available today, they are also both a probiotic and a prebiotic and they are survivability verified which means the probiotics are guaranteed to make it to your digestive system.

I have been taking Silver Fern Brand’s probiotics for a little over a month now and I have noticed such an improvement in not only my digestive help but my overall health as well. The effects have not diminished at all for me, in fact I feel like once I upped my dosage like they suggest I had even better results which to someone who has struggled for so long to find something that actually continues to work like this is HUGE! I would definitely recommend you checking them out on Instagram http://instagram.com/silverfernbrand they have a ton of other products that I haven’t even had the opportunity of trying yet but if they’re even remotely as good as the probiotics I am most likely in trouble (please take all my money) but in a good way right??

Last but not least I feel like I need to say this because it will probably get asked on social media BUT this is is no way a paid post, I just honestly love this product and wanted to share it with you guys!

As always if you guys have any questions or recommendations of your own of products that have worked wonders for you please comment and lets chat!

xo -LU