Introducing my Coordinator of the Chaos, Heather Woolwine

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I am so excited to formally introduce you to one of the most important people on the #LEANTEAM, my administrative director and client liaison, Heather Woolwine.  By no means is she new around here and I am sure many of you have heard me refer to her but maybe wonder who the heck she was. Heather is truly my right hand gal and the most important person to me behind the scenes of www.AmandaNighbert.com and the LEAN program. Heather does a multitude of things to keep this ship afloat and she does it in the most timely and organized manner possible.  She processes client registrations, manages new sessions, assigns groups, ensure all the proper forms are completed and organizes affiliates and referrals just to name a few of her duties! She is super creative and most importantly always thinking one step ahead of what my needs are or might be and this makes her truly special!  Her forward thinking mindset has really helped me as we have grown over the past year and more importantly provided a greater experience and level of service to my clients. Beyond all that she is pretty much just an amazing person with the biggest heart. And to top it all off, she is family! So needless to say I love her so much and I am so grateful to be able to work with her on a daily basis. Together we make a great team! I am so excited to introduce to you to Heather!


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Hello!  My name is Heather Woolwine and I am the administrative director and client liaison for AmandaNighbert.com and the LEAN program.  After spending 14 amazing years as a stay at home mom, I decided to do something for myself and enroll in college receiving my degree in Business Management. It just so happened as I was finishing my degree Amanda was launching her new venture and needed help. She was growing faster than she could keep up with and I was excited to jump in and give her the support she needed. Being a chaos coordinator was right up my alley!  I enjoy taking care of all the behind the scenes stuff therefore making this opportunity the perfect fit!


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I am married to Amanda’s younger brother, Scott, and together we have 4 kids, Abby, Zac, Mallory, & Emma. The kids keep us very busy between school functions, sports, and busy social lives!  As a family we live in Nicholasville, KY, not too far from Lexington. We love camping and go as often as we can with our friends and pups! Our favorite place to visit is the beach and we try to make it a point to see the ocean at least once a year.


I appreciate working with Amanda and her program even more because I personally have seen how amazing it works!  I have always yo yo’d with my weight but had gotten to my highest weight ever, including during pregnancy! Having PCOS my doctor said it would be very hard to lose weight.  Both my husband and I decided we needed to take control of our health and weight. After one session with Amanda, I knew my life was changed forever! The inches just melted off of us both!  At this point I am now in a smaller size than I was in high school. I am down almost 50 pounds and 4 pants sizes and my husband is down 20 pounds and 1 pants size. I have never felt better…I had no idea how much the weight was literally weighing me down!

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I look forward to continuing to serve and support both Amanda and her clients in the months and years to come! And even more excited to be a part of the #LEANTEAM and this ever growing, exciting venture!

XOXO,

Heather






Why your Low Fat Diet is not Helping your Cholesterol Numbers!

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One of the biggest questions is get from my clients is about Cholesterol!  My cholesterol is high, will this program help? My doctor wants me to eat a low fat diet to help with my high cholesterol.  I have been tracking and I am concerned over all the fat I am eating, will is raise my cholesterol?

Oh the big cholesterol controversy!  What is the deal with cholesterol and is it really fat that is increasing your numbers?  Is having high cholesterol bad? Does fat contribute to high cholesterol or heart disease? My doctor wants me on a statin, should I take it?  These are all common questions I hear daily!

The problem is most of us have little understanding about our cholesterol levels in our blood and the whole topic is more complicated than we thought.  Just looking at total cholesterol is the biggest mistake we make! Total cholesterol does not give you the full picture of the health of your heart and simply reducing your fat intake will not necessarily improve your numbers!

One of the biggest refuse-to-die myths is that dietary and cholesterol levels are the enemy and a high-fat diet causes heart attacks.  This has been drilled into us for the past 4 decades and some doctors STILL continue to give this extremely outdated advice!  The more we look, the more we see that study after study shows no link between total fat, saturated fat, or dietary cholesterol and heart disease. And if fat was really the main cause then the fact that we eat 25% less fat today than we did in the 80’s should mean a reduction in heart disease NOT an increase like we have seen!  Bottom line is we are just looking at the wrong things!

So now we know fat and dietary cholesterol are not the problem, so what is? Its sugar and refined carbs that contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and so many other problems.  Remember above how I said we have been brainwashed to fear fat?  Well even the government admits now that they were wrong. The 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee reviewed all the research over last 4 decades and finally agree that we should not be worrying about dietary cholesterol. They also finally lifted any recommendations to restrict dietary fat after 35 years of a steady diet of low-fat recommendations! So why are people still telling us to eat low fat? We now know that it is not really the amount of fat you are eating, it is the type of fat that matters most! Trans-fats and refined vegetable oils promote abnormal cholesterol profiles; whereas, omega 3 oils from fish and monounsaturated fats found in nuts and olive oil can actually improve the type and quantity of your cholesterol.  So for sure load up on healthy fats in your diet and focus on whole food nutrition with less processed foods!

Begin to focus on what is really the problem!  Sugar and carbohydrates! The sugar you consume converts to abnormal blood cholesterol and belly fat. The biggest culprit of all is actually high-fructose corn syrup found in soda, juices, and in most processed foods. That’s what causes cholesterol issues in most people, not saturated or total fat. When you ingest fructose in high amounts without the fiber found in whole fruit, it turns on the cholesterol-producing factory in your liver called lipogenesis which makes super dangerous SMALL LDL particles, increases your triglycerides, and lowers the HDL (or good) cholesterol. So does sugar in any form, including flour and refined carbs.  Therefore if you are looking to make a positive impact on your cholesterol and triglyceride number you must control your sugar and carb intake!

So what should we look at to determine if our heart is healthy?  First consider your HDL levels, the good cholesterol! We want this number to be high and really the only way to increase this is with exercise!  Ideally at least over 60 mg/dl is what you want!  We know that low HDL (under 40 mg/dl) is a much bigger red flag for your risk of heart disease and a heart attack!  So get that HDL up!

We must also stop looking at total cholesterol and start looking at the size of our cholesterol!  Particle size testing is a must, request either an NMR Lipid Panel from LabCorp or the Cardio IQ Test from Quest Diagnostics.  Other cholesterol tests are outdated. A regular cholesterol test won’t reveal particle size. Particle size testing is the only way to know what’s really going on with your cholesterol.  You want to see results that show lots of safe, fluffy, BIG cholesterol particles. You do not want to see small, dense, artery-damaging cholesterol particles.  So it is very possible to have high cholesterol numbers that once you look at the particle size, are not going to negatively impact your health!  This is very important to know!

Also look at triglycerides!  Elevated triglycerides are much more harmful than elevated cholesterol!  Aim for less than 150 mg/dL! Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. Regularly eat more calories than you burn, specifically sugar and carbs, could lead to high triglycerides!

So what’s the best advice for improving your cholesterol and triglyceride numbers?

1)      Focus on whole food nutrition!  Aim to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and sugars in your diet.  You don’t have to be carb free or super low carb but reducing your intake will improve your numbers!  Aim for tons of veggies that are high in fiber and filling!  Aim for good lean protein sources and incorporate healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil.  Cut out as much processed foods as possible!  Shop the perimeter of the grocery store!

2)      Drink more water!  Aim for at least 64 oz of plain water each day in addition to the other fluids you are consuming!

3)      Exercise!  Regular exercise is the BEST way to increase healthy cholesterol HDL and we want that number to be high!  Incorporating some high intensity exercise, even just 30 mins, most days will really help!

4)      Get enough sleep!  Adequate sleep is so important for health!  Aim for 6-8 hours, reduce distraction around bed time, reduce caffeine and high sugar foods to help you fall asleep better!

If you need more help getting you health in line whether it be weight loss, diabetes management or reducing your cholesterol numbers I have a program that can help!

Constipation and a Healthy Way to Treat it!

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Most would think when switching to a whole food diet that going to the bathroom would be no issue!  Loading up on healthy foods that are full of fiber and drinking more water should prevent this right?  Wrong!  For many, switching to whole food nutrition stops them up more than anything!  One of the reason for this could be because processed foods contain so many unnatural additives that the body does not recognize or absorb and because of this our stools are loose to normal when we eat a diet high in processed foods!  When we take out all of that crap we are left with some major bowel issues for some!  Constipation is something that should not be overlooked and treated in the right way!  let's take a closer look at this topic!

 

The characteristics of your stool will tell you a lot about the health of your digestive tract – color, odor, shape, size, and even the sound it makes when it hits the water and whether it’s a “sinker” or a “floater” are all relevant information. The Bristol Stool Chart is a handy tool that may help you learn what you’re going for. Ideally, your stool should approximate Types 3, 4 and 5.  Type 4 is the Holy Grail.

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Fiber tends to bulk up your stool and acts like glue to keep the stool stuck together, instead of in pieces. In hunter and gatherer times we ate up to 150g of fiber a DAY!  Today most Americans average as little as 8-10g.  lack of adequate fiber intake is a huge issue and has a significant impact on your overall health! 

Everyone should aim for at least 25-35g of fiber a day and know that more is even better! 

If your stool is on the softer side, short of diarrhea, it could be related to lactose intolerance, artificial sweeteners (sorbitol and sucralose (splenda), or a reaction to fructose or gluten.

The average body takes between 18 and 72 hours to convert food into stool and pass it on out. When this time is significantly shortened, the result is diarrhea because your intestine doesn’t have time to absorb all of the water. Conversely, when transit time is lengthened, you may end up constipated because too much water has been absorbed, resulting in hard, dry stools.

Constipation is defined as passing hard, dry stools that you have to strain to move, and it’s typically accompanied by decreased frequency of defecation. Straining is not normal, nor is experiencing feelings of incomplete elimination, bloating, crampiness, or sluggishness after going number two.

 Chronic constipation is not ideally and should not be over looked as normal.  Healthy bowel habits are important to your overall health!  Here are some suggestions for treating and preventing constipation!

Treatment for Constipation:

1)   Drink plenty of water daily.  Aim for 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces

2)   Eat a diet that includes whole foods, rich in vegetables and fruits that provide good nutrients and fiber; most of your fiber should come from vegetables everyday. Aim for at least 25-35g of fiber each day! Fruits and veggies high in fiber include avocados, prunes, artichokes, peas, berries, and broccoli.

3)   Avoid artificial sweeteners, excess sugar (especially fructose), chemical additives, MSG, excessive amounts of caffeine, and processed foods as they are all detrimental to your gastrointestinal (and immune) function. Click here for a look at the non caloric sweetness I like!

4)   Try increasing your fiber intake; good options include psyllium.  Psyllium is unique because it's an adaptogenic fiber, which means it will help soften your stool if you’re constipated, or reduce frequency of your bowel movements if you have loose stools. Or try freshly ground organic flax seed.  You can easily add it to salads and soups daily!

5)   Boost your intestinal flora by adding naturally fermented foods into your diet, such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee and kefir (if you tolerate dairy); add a probiotic supplement if you suspect you’re not getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet alone. Look for something with Lactobacillus Acidophilus DDS-1.  Click here for a list of the probiotic I recommend to my clients!

6)   Begin taking a magnesium citrate supplement daily.  Adding magnesium to your diet is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to combat constipation.  Most people suffer from a magnesium deficiency and would benefit from added magnesium.  read more about the importance of magnesium and the proper way to supplement it here! Consider adding the magnesium powder prior to bed each night to improve sleep and constipation.  Be aware that your dose of magnesium for treating constipation may vary day to day and it might be quite high in the beginning.  Here is the magnesium supplement I personally use and recommend for constipation issues to my clients! 

7)   Get plenty of exercise daily

 

If you struggle with chronic constipation and other health issues that are holding you back from losing weight and feeling better, I would love the chance to work with you!  For the past 20 years I have help thousands of patients get on track with their own wellness journey and I would love to do the same for you!  Check out the link below for a look at all the program I offer!

Magnesium! Your Missing Mineral!

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Magnesium is a mineral that is present in relatively large amounts in the body. Researchers estimate that the average person’s body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, and about half of that is in the bones. Magnesium is important in more than 300 chemical reactions that keep the body working properly including muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, immune system functioning and blood sugar level.

Yet it is estimated that 80% of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.

Symptoms of deficiency can include constipation, fatigue, weakness, pain, spasm, tremor, cramping, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, depression, irritability, lethargy, and insomnia.

Magnesium has been linked to reduced incidence of common conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome in large peer-reviewed, long-term studies.  Studies today focus on whether active magnesium supplementation may be one of the missing links to preventing these diseases, as well as several disorders affecting the brain, muscles and skin.

The U.S. Department of Health has placed magnesium on its short list of nutrients of concern, and many experts actually recommend increases to magnesium’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).

The good news is that magnesium supplementation is a safe and effective way for most people to ensure they are getting enough magnesium to stay healthy, before deficiencies arise. 

Benefits of Magnesium!

1. Better sleep - The sleep regulating hormone melatonin is disturbed when Magnesium is deficient. Furthermore, Magnesium brings balance and controls stress hormones. Stress and tension are often reasons why people suffer from insomnia in the first place.

2. Relaxes the nervous system - Serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood, is dependent on Magnesium.

3. Bigger, stronger muscles - Magnesium allows the body to produce more Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), which is a major contributor to the growth and strength of muscles. Furthermore, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the cell's energy store, and is created with help from Magnesium.

4. Better flexibility - Magnesium loosens tight muscles. Without Magnesium, muscles do not relax properly and cramps occur. Magnesium is important for flexibility, because low Magnesium results in a buildup of lactic acid, causing pain and tightness.

5. Bone integrity and strength - Magnesium helps to fix calcium properly. It may blow some people's mind that the calcium supplements they're taking are not only useless, but are actually contributing to osteoporosis! There are actually about eighteen essential nutrients that contribute to bone health; Magnesium is definitely one of the most essential, because it stimulates a particular hormone called calcitonin. And, it also suppresses a hormone called parathyroid that breaks down bone.

6. Remineralizes teeth - Magnesium deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorous and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.

7. Alkalizes the body - Magnesium helps return the body’s pH balance. Magnesium reduces lactic acid, which is partly responsible for post-exercise pain (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

8. Hydrates - Magnesium is a necessary electrolyte essential for proper hydration.

9. Helps to relieve constipation - Magnesium can be used to cleanse the bowels of toxins.

10. Enzyme function - Enzymes are protein molecules that stimulate every chemical reaction in the body. Magnesium is required to make hundreds of these enzymes work and assists with thousands of others.

11. Diabetes - Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, which facilitates sugar metabolism. Without Magnesium, glucose is not able to transfer into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage, including the nerves in the eyes.

Magnesium and Constipation! 

Magnesium is an all natural, healthy way to treat constipation on a regular basis.  Products like laxatives, stool softeners and Miralax can be very damaging to a healthy gut if used daily.  Magnesium Citrate increases water in your intestines which help initiate peristalsis (the wavelike motion which moves fecal matter through your intestines). Peristalsis also pushes food into your stomach.

The laxative effect of magnesium appears to come through two different mechanisms:

-Magnesium relaxes the muscles in the intestines---this helps to establish a smoother rhythm that helps eliminate constipation.

-Magnesium also attracts water---this increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass and thus removing constipation.

Since your intestines will be absorbing this excess water from your body it is very important to drink plenty of water after taking Magnesium. This will keep you from becoming dehydrated.

Magnesium Citrate should be taking daily as needed to treat AND prevent constipation.  Daily dose will vary depending on the bodies current needs.  One day you may need 2 teaspoons and the next you may need 4.  Adjust your dose according to your bowel movements.  If your stool is hard and you are feeling constipated increase dose, if your stool is loose and you have diarrhea decrease your dose. 

Good Forms Of Magnesium

-Magnesium citrate -- Magnesium citrate is the most popular magnesium supplement, probably because it is inexpensive and easily absorbed. Since citric acid is a mild laxative, magnesium citrate functions as a constipation aid as well as a magnesium source. It is a great choice for individuals with rectal or colon problems but is unsuitable for those with loose bowel movements.


-Magnesium taurate -- Magnesium taurate is the best choice of magnesium supplement for people with cardiovascular issues, since it is known to prevent arrhythmias and guard the heart from damage caused by heart attacks. Magnesium taurate is easily absorbed (magnesium and taurine stabilize cell membranes together), and it contains no laxative properties.


-Magnesium malate -- Magnesium malate is a fantastic choice for people suffering from fatigue, since malic acid -- a natural fruit acid present in most cells in the body -- is a vital component of enzymes that play a key role in ATP synthesis and energy production. Since the ionic bonds of magnesium and malic acid are easily broken, magnesium malate is also highly soluble.


-Magnesium glycinate -- Magnesium glycinate (magnesium bound with glycine, a non-essential amino acid) is one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium, and also the least likely to induce diarrhea. It is the safest option for correcting a long-term deficiency.


-Magnesium chloride -- Though magnesium chloride only contains around 12 percent elemental magnesium, it has an impressive absorption rate and is the best form of magnesium to take for detoxing the cells and tissues. Moreover, chloride (not to be confused with chlorine, the toxic gas) aids kidney function and can boost a sluggish metabolism.


-Magnesium carbonate -- Magnesium carbonate is another popular, bioavailable form of magnesium that actually turns into magnesium chloride when it mixes with the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. It is a good choice for people suffering from indigestion and acid reflux, since it contains antacid properties.

Forms of Magnesium to Avoid

-Magnesium oxide -- Magnesium oxide is the most common form of magnesium sold in pharmacies, but it is non-chelated and possesses a poor absorption rate compared to those listed above.


-Magnesium sulfate -- Magnesium sulfate, also called Epsom salt, is a fantastic constipation aid but an unsafe source of dietary magnesium, since overdosing on it is easy.


-Magnesium glutamate and aspartate -- Avoid these two forms of magnesium completely. Glutamic acid and aspartic acid are components of the dangerous artificial sweetener aspartame, and both of them become neurotoxic when unbound to other amino acids.


Need help getting on track with your health and wellness?  i would love to work with you!  Consider one of my online programs!

Dairy's Downfall! Why Dairy is Wrecking Havoc on your Body and Weight Loss.

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Ahh, dairy. Just thinking about melty cheese, creamy ice cream, or a cold glass of milk with warm cookies is enough to get just about anyone’s mouth watering. An added bonus? We’ve been told by people since day one that dairy is good for us, builds strong bones, and is an essential food group for a healthy diet. 

However, if someone handed you a beverage that you knew would cause weight gain, bloating, acne, gas, allergies, eczema, and brittle bones, would you drink it? Probably not!  Despite the large and growing research showing us that dairy lacks the benefits we were once told and has awful side effects, our government still recommends 3 servings a day and touts dairy as an important part of a balanced diet.

However, research over the past 5-10 years has begun to show otherwise. Dairy products may not be what all we’ve thought they were cracked up to be. Here’s why you should consider either heavily reducing your dairy intake, or eliminating it all together. 

  1. Did you know that almost ¾ of the world’s population is lactose intolerant to an extent? This is because after infancy, when humans are genetically designed to drink milk, they begin to stop producing the enzyme necessary for dairy digestion. This enzyme, lactase, plummets after the age of two in most people.  Have you ever noticed that after drinking a milkshake, eating ice cream, or eating cheesy pasta, your stomach is upset? This could very well be caused by the dairy products you’ve just eaten. Cow’s milk is one of the first and most common causes of food allergy in early childhood.  For example those allergic to casein protein (found in milk) suffer from eczema, ear infections, congestion and sinus problems.  I urge you to eliminate dairy from your diet for one to two weeks to see if it may be what is contributing to your upset stomach! 
  2. Studies have shown that not only is milk not necessary for a healthy, well-rounded diet, but it is also not the catchall for preventing broken bones now or even osteoporosis in the future. Calcium is certainly necessary for good bone health, but humans don’t absorb the calcium in cow’s milk very well. Not only that, but it can also leech the present calcium that our bones already have. It’s no coincidence that the areas around the world with the lowest dairy consumption like African and Asian countries have the lowest rates of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Instead of depending on dairy for your calcium needs, try to incorporate more dark leafy greens, beans, and certain types of fish like salmon and rainbow trout. As for your children, research shows that the more physical activity they get as adolescents and teenagers, the greater their bone mineral density on their 18th birthday! Plus, more and more evidence points to the importance of Vitamin D, not calcium, to truly building strong bones!
  3. For years, we were taught that eating fat makes you fat. The dietary guidelines have mirrored this info with a strong push for not just 3 servings of dairy a day but 3 servings of low fat and fat free dairy each day! We now know that fat is not the issue and these guidelines have gotten us in a lot of trouble health wise! Eating sugar excessively contributes to weight gain more than anything else we do. Dairy products typically have moderate-high rates of sugar, which can cause your insulin to spike and that sugar to ultimately be stored as fat. Think about it: a glass of milk has around 12 grams of sugar, a serving of yogurt has between 12 and 20 grams, and a serving of ice cream has anywhere from 15 – 35 grams of sugar. If you’re eating dairy at every meal, think of how drastically you could reduce your sugar intake by eliminating dairy from your diet. This reduction in sugar could be just what you were missing to lose that last stubborn 10 pounds. 
  4. What about butter? Butter has been given a bad reputation and therefore for many years we stopped using it!  You would think if butter was so bad for you that this reduction would promote better health right?  As butter consumption declined, so did our overall health!  We now know that, when sourced correctly, can be a great addition to a healthy diet.  Research has shown that it is protective against diabetes, and has no link to heart disease.  Many people who eliminate dairy in their diet can still use butter because butter has little to none of the problematic proteins and sugars such as casein and lactose in it.  So the good news is, giving up dairy does not heave to mean giving up butter!  Be sure to source ONLY grass-fed butter which has fewer toxins, better fats and more antioxidants.  In fact, grass-fed butter is one of the best sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which boosts your metabolism and helps prevent against cancer and heart disease!  And if you are truly allergic to milk, then you can safely use clarified butter or ghee, which has all the water and milk solids removed!
  5. What about cheese?  Who doesn’t love cheese! Definitely stay far away from industrially processed types like Swiss, cheddar, and American which are full of hormones, allergens, and additives.  Look for goats and sheep’s cheese like Goat, Feta, Manchego, and Pecorino.  So what is the difference between say goats milk and cow’s milk?  Well, today’s dairy cows have been bred to have high levels of A1 casein, which is much more inflammatory that A2 casein.  The good news is goats’ milk has only A2 casein and is not inflammatory!

So to sum it up, most people should 100% avoid dairy, but if you choose to use dairy in your diet definitely avoid conventionally raised cow’s milk and products which are full of hormones, chemicals and inflammatory compounds.  If you suffer from digestive issues, weight gain, diabetes, autoimmune disease, PMS, infertility, skin disorders like acne, eczema or psoriasis, allergies, or any chronic disease you should avoid dairy!

Still skeptical? Try eliminating dairy from your diet for just one week. See how it effects your digestion, skin, and weight and I promise you won’t go back. While an occasional treat of ice cream every now and then certainly won’t ruin all of your weight loss efforts, cutting back could definitely give you the boost you need!   Look for grass-fed milk, cheese and butter when you do consume dairy and try sheep and goat products which are even better!

If you are looking to feel better, eat healthier, and lose weight consider one of my online programs!  Use the links below for more info!  I would love to work with you!

What is the Deal with Artificial Sweeteners

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We avoid sweets and sugary drinks when trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. These items are usually pretty high in calories, and most of them comes from the sugar itself. So if you can eat or drink the same amount with no sugar or calories, why wouldn’t you?

Using artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Sweet N Low can reduce calories and overall carbohydrate intake. However, is the risk worth the reward?  Let’s find out!

The FDA has 5 artificial sweeteners that are approved: saccharin (Sweet’N Low), acesulfame (Sunett, Sweet one), aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda) and neotame which is only used in food manufacturing. Although the FDA approves of these, we do have some concerns with people using these sweeteners.

Research shows that they are bad for you!  They are known carcinogens, they wreak havoc on your gut microbes, destroying beneficial bacteria and causing glucose intolerance. And they make you even hungrier!  Normally, when we eat something sweet, it comes with lots of calories.  This is not the case with artificial sweeteners and this is very confusing to the brain.  Therefore the brain tries to correct the problem by making you hungrier to get those missing calories so you end up eating more! Artificial sweeteners increase hunger, slow metabolism, and increase body fat!

It also might be that consuming artificial sweeteners can change how we taste other foods. These sweeteners are so low calorie because they are much more potent than than regular sugar. Over stimulating sugar receptors in our taste buds can limit our taste tolerance for other foods like fruits and vegetables, making them less appealing. In the same way, always using artificial sweeteners can prevent us from associating sweet tastes with high calorie foods/drinks. This can cause us to crave an even higher amount of sweets and gain weight, which we were trying to prevent in the first place. Just like caffeine, artificial sweeteners can be addictive, especially if you consume them frequently. This can make it difficult to give up those sugary drinks or snacks whenever you want.

What about Sugar Alcohols?

Sugar alcohols are derived from plants and are mainly used in food manufacturing. They are easy to find on the food label because they all end in “-ol” mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and malitol to name a few.  Sugar alcohols are not absorbed well in the intestines which can lead to GI issues such as diarrhea, bloating, gas and cramping. They also mess with your gut microbes and cause bacterial overgrowth plus they keep you hooked on sugar! So for the most part try to limit your consumption but Erythritol looks to be the best in the bunch if you have to pick one!  It has basically no calories and causes no GI distress. It will not raise your blood sugar or insulin levels and it is sold in stores for home use!  Click here to buy!

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So What is Safe to Use?

When you want to use a little sweetness but want to avoid sugar or artificial sweeteners, there are a few options to use for a more natural sweetener. If calories and carbs are not a big issue look for local pure honey, molasses, organic palm sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar or organic maple syrup. 

If you are looking for a non-caloric options stick with stevia, monk fruit, or Erythritol but all in moderation

Stevia: Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Commercial stevia sweeteners are made from a compound of the stevia plant.  Refined stevia Reb A sweeteners have zero calories, zero fat, and zero carbs and don’t raise blood sugar levels. Some contain other sweeteners such as agave or turbinado sugar so be sure to read your labels.  Here is the link to the one I use most

 

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Monk Fruit:  Monk fruit is a small, green gourd that resembles a melon. It’s grown in Southeast Asia. Monk fruit extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. The extract contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat. It is safe for children, pregnant women, and breast-feeding women.  Monk fruit gets its sweetness from antioxidant mogrosides and based on research it has the potential to be a low-glycemic natural sweetener.  Some monk fruit sweeteners contain other sweeteners such as dextrose so be sure to read your labels.  Click here to buy!

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Although artificial sweeteners are FDA approved, there are some adverse effects when they are used too much, and we aren’t entirely sure what all they can do to our bodies. For optima health I would encourage you to stay away from artificial sweeteners as much as possible!  When in doubt and you are needing a sweetener, try using a more natural sweetener (like the ones listed above) in sparing amounts.

 

If you need help getting on track with your health and healthy eating I want to help you!  In the program I run we focus on whole food nutrition and I teach you how to live a healthy life that is manageable in your crazy schedule! 

How to Stay on Track while on Vacation​​​​​​​

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Going on vacation is a time to unwind, to relax, to celebrate, to travel and to see new places and try new things. But it can also make you very uneasy about sticking to your healthy eating habits and exercise routines.  

Vacations usually mean late nights, early mornings, crazy travel schedules, alcohol, and “once in a lifetime” moments that can take priority over healthy decisions. And honestly, it should be like that!  Normally, a single bad meal or missed workout is not going to make or break your progress. However, when it becomes 7-10 days of off track decisions, it can make it really hard to get back on track once we return home.  Then one week turns into one month turns into a few

Here are my favorite ways to stay on track while still enjoying your vacation!

 

Have a plan and focus on everything in moderation

    Many people “diet” like crazy before a big vacation and then while away use it as an excuse to overindulge and splurge non stop!  This is a bad idea!  Not only will it sabotage your weight loss but it will probably make you feel like crap!  Consider making a plan prior to leaving for your trip! Find which areas you can stay on track with and determine the areas in which you will deviate.  For example, maybe you are going to disney.  You know you will be on your feet non stop so walking and exercise will be good.  You know you LOVE the dole whip so have a healthy lunch and save your splurge for the dole whip! Back on track with a healthy dinner!  Maybe you are going on a cruise!  You might plan to drink tons of water during the day and the limit alcohol at night.  Find the fitness facility and aim to get 2-3 workouts in.  Stay on track for breakfast and lunch and splurge for dinner each day!  Bottom line is if you have a plan and are intentional about your choices when then you will return from vacation and have a much easier time getting back on track!

Make Time for Exercise

    Make time for increased activity a few times during your vacation!  This may be a ton of walking around a theme park or a quick visit to the resort gym!  Find other ways to increase activity like take the stairs or walk to your meal if it is within a mile.  No access to a gym?  Here is a quick workout you can do anywhere! Do as many rounds as you want!  

    

-50 jumping jacks

-50 squats

-50 pushups

-50 lunges

-50 burpees

-50 crunches

Stay Well Hydrated

    Water water and more water!  Staying well hydrated is SO important while away on vacation.  So be super conscious of drinking a ton of water while away!  Limit high calorie beverages to a minimum like sodas and sweet teas.  Consider drinking a large glass of water between alcoholic beverages and remember the signals for thirst are the same for hunger.  So controlling hunger requires a lot of fluid and hydration!  

When we look at alcohol be sure to choose low calorie alcoholic options like vodka soda or white wine.  Avoid the fruity daiquiris or coladas.  Try not to drink all day long but limit alcohol to a certain time of day.  And remember that big glass of water between drinks!

Take Healthy Options with You!

    Whenever possible, take healthy food with you!  Finding healthy options can be a challenge while away from home so consider taking something with you!  Packs some healthy nuts, jerky, protein bars, and protein powder and take them with you!  Can’t take it with you? If possible, once you arrive to your destination, find a local store and stock up on healthy options to use while away!

Manage Your Mindset!

    If you go into your vacation with the mindset of a free for all then that is exactly what will happen!  If you go into your vacation with the mindset of balance then that is what will happen!  So think about that before your vacation!  Develop a plan and have an idea of what it will take to not completely blow it while away!  

Recruit a Healthy Buddy

    When possible, find like minded friends and family on your vacation to help you stay accountable!  When you surround yourself with others looking to be healthy, everyone benefits!  Find a workout buddy!  Find someone who will be fasting with you. Find a buddy that is making healthy choices with you!  Together you can help each other sta on track!

 

Bottomline

 

    A week away does not have to mean complete derailment from your healthy lifestyle!  With a little prep and planning you can stay on track!

 

  1. Have a plan!  Think ahead of time of how your healthy habits will be impacted by your vacation and then determine what you will do to manage those.

  2. Pick where you plan to indulge ahead of time and stick with it!  Focus on the 80/20 rule.  Aim to stay on track 80% of the time and allow for variety 20%.  Focus on eating a lot of lean protein and veggies and use everything in moderation!

  3. FAST! If you are my client, then you will FAST!  Fasting is a great way to stay on track during vacation!  Fast as much as possible but remember fasting is not an all or nothing technique.  So if you want to enjoy breakfast or have a late night cocktail, go for it!  

  4. Drink a TON of water!  This is so easy!  Stay super hydrated with water!

  5. Consume alcohol in moderation!

  6. Make time for exercise!

  7. Plan to get right back at it when you return!

  8. Most important, Have fun!  Relax!  Enjoy your time away, that’s what a vacation is for.

 

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Don't let your vacation get in the way of getting in shape and finding that sustainable lifestyle!  What I love most about the programs I run is that they are truly a lifestyle!  They are easy to adapted when you are on the road and away from home!  Register now so you can look and feel your best on your next vacation!

Let's Talk Hunger Hormones: Ghrelin!

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Wanting a snack a short time after eating dinner, not having an appetite at all, or reaching for anything in sight after coming home from work.

These scenarios may sound all too familiar to some of us. But have you ever wondered why exactly these feelings are happening? Hormones my friend, hormones!  Hormones like leptin and ghrelin to name just a few play a huge roll in why we feel hunger or not!

Today, I want to focus on the “hunger” hormone, ghrelin!

Ghrelin is a hormone that plays a role in how hungry we feel. Ghrelin increases our appetite and make us feel hungry. Ghrelin is produced by the stomach and is in it’s highest concentrations in the body right before feeding. As soon as you’re stomach senses food it stops producing it. When you don’t eat it keeps producing it, well up to a certain point that is. Usually, it will increases a lot before a meal and then go down for about three hours afterward. As the stomach becomes more empty, it will start secreting more and more ghrelin and signal that it is time to eat again.

Learning how to regulate and manage your ghrelin levels is key to controlling your appetite and seeing long term weight loss results! So how do we do that?  FASTING!

How fasting positively impacts ghrelin levels.

So in our typical pattern of eating, 3-6 meals a day we basically give into our ghrelin levels on a daily basis.  We wake up “hungry” so we eat breakfast, and then a few hours later lunch, then we get “hungry” again and we snack, then its dinner and a few hours after that we are “hungry” again and we snack, till we finally just go to bed.  So now we are eating every few hours and we are spiking our glucose levels and then comes insulin and then we store fat. With every meal this cycle is repeating making it VERY hard to lose weight because we are always store fat vs burning fat.

So what happens when we implement intermittent fasting?  Here’s what happens!  So we wake up maybe a little hungry, but we don’t eat.  Therefore our ghrelin levels continue to rise.  Now here is good part.  As our ghrelin levels rise our body is well equipped to address this allowing us to survive! 

1)      Higher levels of circulating ghrelin correspond with increase release of growth hormone by the pituitary gland. This is a highly touted benefit of fasting, remember Growth Hormone is responsible for increased fat loss, muscle gain and is touted as a youth hormone. 

2)      Ghrelin increases the effects of dopamine. Dopamine is the same substance released by your brain in response to certain actions that make you feel freaking incredible. That is why so many people say the feel great while fasting!

3)      Ghrelin plays a huge role in neurotrophy (the building, survival and functioning of neurons in the brain). It plays one of its biggest roles in the hippocampus – and this is the awesome part – which is responsible for long term memory, short term memory and spatial navigation. This little hormone that is created by the stomach when you’re hungry can actually help you retain more memories and navigate through physical space better! This is one of the reason people say they have less brain fog and more mental clarity when they are fasting!

So how to do we use ghrelin to our advantage? Well first we have to be comfortable with feeling a little hungry.  When we consistently give into our “hunger” we don’t allow all these super beneficial processes to occur.  Think about it, have you ever been hungry before but just did not have access to food and eventually that hunger past?  This is the power of ghrelin when we allow it time to stimulate growth hormone and dopamine. 

Interested in learning more about intermittent fasting?  Download my free guide with everything you need to know!

Want me to show you how to safely and effectively implement intermittent fasting into you daily routine?  Consider One of my many online programs that will teach you just that! More info at the button below!  Check it out!  Next sessions start soon!