Body

Plantains (are magic)

Plantains (are magic)

Plantains are amazing. This is something I have known for a LONG TIME, but even knowing this true fact - I NEVER PURCHASED A PLANTAIN MYSELF.

I finally did and I cannot believe it took me so long. They are delicious and easy to prepare. Which is why friends I encourage you - no - I challenge you - to buy your very own plantain this week and cook it... see what happens.
 

You. Food. And Worth.

I am good. I am bad. 

One of the first things I do with a new client is a food journal review. The same statements come up again and again:

“I was really bad on this day"
“I was having a major cheat day"
“Oh, this is what it looks like when I am really good"

And so on.
These lines are said with a laugh, but words are powerful. And these words - that declare a person good or bad - have deep roots and jagged edges.

It breaks my heart.

You are not good or bad based on what you eat. You are just making choices.

Some are more nourishing than others, but it is all a spectrum.

I can relate. I get where it comes from and have been guilty of it myself. Which is why I know how powerful it is to change the narrative.

You can start by looking at your motives - why are you trying to eat healthy? To look good naked, to play with your kids, to avoid disease?

Whatever the motive - the common thread is to gain something in life that makes you feel better.

The words you consume can be more deleterious than the food you eat. They can have more of an impact on your body. The relationship you have with yourself and your food matters.

And it is important to know that no matter what you have eaten today you have value as you are right now. 


We are overfed and undernourished

I really can't say it enough

Your entire body runs on nutrients.

Each cell runs on nutrients. 

The cells are surrounded by a bilipid layer aka two layers made up of fat. Fat that you need to consume because it is an essential nutrient (high quality fat that is). 

Each of those cells make up tissues and the tissues make up organs. Which is all made possible by the nutrients you consume. 

Those organs they make up systems. Your digestive system, your skeletal system, endocrine system, immune system, and so on. All of this is made possible BECAUSE OF NUTRIENTS.

Now those systems, in combination, make up us - the organism. And guess what? We. Run. On. Nutrients.

Which we get through what we consume and MORE IMPORTANTLY what we absorb

Let that sit with you.

This is why I preach whole food, high quality, nutrient dense. It is the best fuel to run your body.

Vegetables, grass-fed/humanely sourced meat, eggs, good quality fat. I am even cool with grains, beans, and nuts that have been properly prepared aka soaked or sprouted or fermented.

It is worth noting when solving for nutrient density and what the body actually absorbs well - grains are not the best choice. Organ meats and herbs, however, they stack high up there!

You need decent nutrition to run your body. 

And water, you need that too.

Mindset is a jerk

Your brain is your best and worst friend. 

Thoughts are tricky things. 

What I see over and over is misguided motivation. A "motivation" that is fueled from self loathing. 

The interior dialogue that goes something like "If you don't do this you are lazy".

"If you don't go on your run today you are terrible."

"If you don't hit up yoga you are worthless."

Or the track playing might be something more like "You are so fat and ugly you don't deserve that piece of cake."

Or "What is wrong with you why can't you stick to anything?!"

Or "You just ate that whole bag of tortilla chips you have no self control!"

Or something else where you relate an action to your worth.

It's exhausting.

And painful. You are building an extremely rigid relationship with yourself and the activity that is bound to break. 

So what do you do? 

You start to pause.

Every time you notice yourself in a pattern of limitation.

Take a moment and pause. 

Does this belief or thought serve you? 

Does it open or constrict your body?

Ask yourself.

And then ask yourself -

What is something that you like about yourself? What goal are you trying to achieve and why? What kind of life do you want to lead?

The act of pausing pulls us out of the automatic reaction and allows us to be present and proactive. 

Believe you can change. 

Bring in self-compassion which allows for elasticity and sustainability when it comes to achieving actual lifestyle change.

Permanent results. 

4 Reasons Why I Don't Love A Salad

When people think "health food" they often think SALAD!

You see it all the time. It is what is popularized in sitcoms, commercials, movies, and more. I still remember seeing the Stephen King movie "IT" and one of the main protagonists was chubby as a child. The adult version of him is slim. Everyone was like "WHAT IS YOUR SECRET"??? and his answer "SALAD" (and working out, but mostly SALAD). That has stuck with me for, what, twenty years now? 

The idea that SALADS are health food is pretty deeply ingrained. 

 

 

And to be clear I am not saying that they aren't healthy, but what I am saying is that they are not always the most supportive food. 

So let's break it down into 4 reasons I don't love a salad:

REASON #1 - DIGESTION

We live in a world of compromised digestion. Most people have issues in their upper and lower GI. Issues like gas, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation, distension, belching, and so on. When digestion isn't up to snuff eating raw vegetables can be super tough. It takes a lot of work to break down the outer barrier of a plant i.e. the cellulose. Which needs to happen to extract all the lovely nutrients (aka vitamins and minerals) inside. Raw veggies can irritate rather than support the gut.

A good alternative is cooked vegetables. You can do stews, roasted veggies, lightly steamed, pan fried, slow cooked roasts with vegetables, and even juicing (at times). There are a TON of other ways to get the nutrition in without aggravating your digestive tract.

REASON #2 - SATIETY

Now, this depends on the salad. If you have a salad with a ton of chicken or if it is a steak salad - you may not face this problem. However if your meal is JUST A SALAD and it is mostly leafy goodness reaching a point of satiation can be elusive. You might reach it in the moment, but how soon after are you craving something again? When a salad is just leaves and a few vegetables - you aren't getting a lot of fuel in and it is natural to crave something shortly after. 

REASON #3 - HIDDEN SUGAR & BAD OIL

This is really a question about dressing and the quality of the dressing. A lot, a lot, a lot, of dressings contain a crap ton of sugar. And a lot, a lot, a lot, of dressings - even good organic dressings - use highly processed canola or vegetable oil which is awful for the body. These fats are damaged which causes inflammation in the body and the creation of free radicals (which we do not love). Why are they damaged? The high heat process used to create these oils is the problem. Fats are unstable, exposing them to high heats and then putting them on a store shelf (in a clear plastic bottle) is a sure fire way to get crappy quality oil. And bad fat is just a bucket full of harm. 

REASON #4 - NUTRIENT DENSITY

This again depends on the type of salad. There are a lot of fantastic salads out there, but there are also a ton of really bare bone, not so awesome salads. Pay attention to what is in the salad. Is it iceberg lettuce or mixed greens? Are there organic, locally grown, in season vegetables or off-season, bulk bought, commercially grown vegetables? It matters. 

CONCLUSION 

Salads CAN be a great option, especially if your gut health is optimal, but really be mindful of what is in the salad. 

Just because it is a salad, doesn't make it health food. 

But if you are going to eat salad, here is one I love and endorse: http://www.brainbodygut.com/blog/2014/11/28/rainbow-kale-salad-with-a-peppery-kick-recipe

 

It isn't all about food

What you eat DOES matter, but it isn't the whole picture.

The world of nutrition is jam packed full of different people preaching different approaches. You can find whatever you are looking for - articles to support your beliefs - to tear them down - whatever you need the internet has your back.

My standpoint is that you need to find what works for you. And what works for you today, may not work tomorrow - also what does "work" mean? Health? Weight? 

These clarifying questions are excellent to ask when you are trying to create change.

Now, back to my point.

It isn't all about food.

What do I mean by that? Well. I could tell you THE PERFECT DIET FOR YOU and if you are so stressed out following that diet, it isn't going to work.

If you follow that diet, but still only manage to get 5 hours of solid sleep that night. It isn't going to work.

If you follow that diet, but keep supporting bad relationships in your life. It isn't going to work.

If you follow that diet, and have a terrible internal monologue. It isn't going to work

If you follow that diet, but don't believe you can actually change. It isn't going to work.

Food plays an important role in healing.

But your mind.

It is more powerful.

Learning how to be kind to yourself. Kind to your path. Your progress. Developing patience. These things can be more impactful than the perfect meal plan.

Why I don't eat gluten

This is a story of my face

 On the left is my 20th birthday, on the right is now (I am 35 but you can just call me 29).

On the left is my 20th birthday, on the right is now (I am 35 but you can just call me 29).

I have many, many, many stories of how I came to be interested in nutrition, health, and healing from within - but - the story of my face is pretty much the origin story.

When I was 14 I saw my first dermatologist. She told me that what I eat does not affect my skin. She gave me retin-a, an astringent, and put me on an antibiotic. I took her word as gospel and began the regimen. Through the next few years she never took me off the antibiotic, she just changed what type I was on. 

Thinking back on it, my skin was pretty ok. Before seeing her I had never had cystic acne I just got the occasional breakout. 

Fast forward to me being 19. I am still on antibiotics - so for those of you counting - that is pretty much 5 years of non-stop antibiotic'ing. Which. Is. Crazy. I mean nuts. For the minimal problems I had, being on something so consistently for so long with so little benefit... it is horrifying. 

So there I am 19 years old and I head off to the Netherlands for my sophomore year of college. In the Netherlands I cannot get my prescription filled, so it is the first time in forever that I have no antibiotics in my system.  And I CAN DRINK BEER LEGALLY!!! And it is the NETHERLANDS! CHEESE!! BREAD!! ALL THE THINGS!!! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!!!!!! !!! ! !

My face went nuts.

I got cystic acne that just wouldn't go away. It was painful literally and emotionally. I remember going to bed and wanting to wake up and have it all be a nightmare. That I would wake up and have clear skin. 

I drank (we all drank) a ton in the Netherlands. I drank to forget about my face, my body, my insecurities. 

I bought all the products I could find. All the masks. All the creams. All the astringents. Nothing helped. The one thing that seemed to help was the sun, so I got super duper tan. 

When I got back from the Netherlands I was happy to be in a land of healthcare once more. A place where I could once again tackle my acne, because - it was all about the drugs - it never occurred to me to think that what I was eating had an impact.

This blows my mind now.

So my junior year of college I got myself on Accutane. The saying with Accutane is that it gets worse before it gets better - and that is certainly true. My face became peely and dry. With Accutane I had to be on two forms of birth control because the medication can cause birth defects, I had to get my blood drawn every month, because they needed to make sure my liver was a-ok. Pretty serious stuff. But I didn't care. I just wanted my skin to be normal. And it worked... for a bit. 

I had a few good years.

And then everything came back with a VENGEANCE. At this time I was living in Seattle... and it got bad. Really, really, bad. Worse than it had been in the Netherlands.

It crushed me. 

The first thing people see is your skin. I remember thinking, well I can't go camping because if I go camping I wouldn't have make-up and that is JUST NOT OK. 

There was the time that a street bum shouted at me... shouted... "NOXZEMA!!!!"

Which sucked. I would do a lot of mental gymnastics to convince myself that people weren't seeing what I was seeing. That it wasn't that bad. And then Mr. Streetbum chirps up. Or that random stranger on the bus who tapped me lightly on the shoulder and wanted to talk about Proactive - AS IF I HADN'T TRIED PROACTIVE!!

I tried everything.

I went to a fancy spa that had special acne facial treatments and I bellied up money that I really couldn't afford. My first consultation I cried... I remember that I was in a show where I had to be on stage that night. The woman consulting with me told me how "brave" I was to be going on stage with a face that looked like mine.

GAH. Kill me. 

So I shelled out the money.

Got poked and prodded.

And occasionally things got a teeny tiny bit better. 

And then, one day I went to a different esthetician and she said to me "Annette, have you ever considered you might have an allergy?"

What.

No.

Because I am made of hearty midwest stock. We don't have allergies to things like dairy and gluten. PAH! BAH! A gluten allergy is soooo Seattle. And plus that one dermatologist SAID that what I eat doesn't affect my face! SO NO I HADN'T. 

So for the first time I actually considered it. 

And that was my first step. 

My first step to truly understanding how connected EVERYTHING is.

It seriously blows my mind that I ever thought what I consume had no impact. This includes all the antibiotics I had blindly taken for so long. They killed my happy gut flora. Which made my gut a sad place that couldn't, and still has problems, properly digesting food.

Wheat exacerbates this problem. Keeping it out of my life has helped me heal. And the great thing about healing is that the more you do it, the more you can get away with - 

I will never go back to eating much bread, but if I really want a piece of bread I am okay to have it a few times a year. That is a choice I get to make, but now I know the consequences. 

My face was a big motivator for change and though it really sucked - like really, really - I am also grateful. It helped me grow and learn and understand what health and nutrition actually look like.

There are a lot of people that don't have super obvious symptoms and only figure it out when the whole machine is broken.

I am happy I had a catalyst for change. 

 

Tidbit Tuesday | Absorption & Digestion aka CHEW yo' food! [Video]

Digestion is SUPER important, but we so often overlook it. Here is yet another reminder to chew (your food).

You guys! Chew. Chew. Chew. Because - you are what you absorb. AND Absorption, it starts in your mouth :D

Actually doing the work that needs to be done

It is super unsexy.

To do the work that needs to get done. We don't hate doing work - but - focusing on the task that actually needs to be completed can be the challenge. 

Maybe we want to do a badass muscle up, but do we have the strength, the mobility, the joint support required?

Working the muscle-up is sexy.

Doing serratus push-ups and warming up your rotator cuffs... might not seem as fun.

Working your body to the bone is pretty sexy.

Taking it easy. Resting. Recovery... less so.

Burning the candle at all the ends... sexy.

Prioritizing sleep? Nope.

The work that actually needs to be done to ACCOMPLISH GOALS rather than just chase them.

Isn't sexy, but it is necessary.

 

Before and after

We love a before and after shot.

  When searching stock photos for before and after this is what I found, I happen to think both ladies are lovely. 

When searching stock photos for before and after this is what I found, I happen to think both ladies are lovely. 

Shoot, I love a before and after shot. Who doesn't?

It gives us hope.

It gives us a feeling that change is possible.

That hard work nets results.

That (potentially) we've been doing it wrong and if we just fix this one thing we can change.

If we have more discipline. If we really really focus this time.

Then we too can be like Sally Smith from Sunport and drop 5 sizes in in 5 months.

Or we too can go from couch potato to killing it at marathons in 2 months.  

Or we too can go from just an average joe to RIPPED SUPER HERO STATUS. 

We love a makeover. 

The problem is these are just moments. There is SO MUCH MORE to the story. The fits and starts. The forward progress and backfire.

The after that goes back to the before. 

An image can be deceiving. 

What I am trying to say is that the journey to health, happiness, and strength is complex. It isn't a straight line up and to the right. There isn't always a moment where the "pounds melt off" or where you suddenly feel strong and powerful all the time. There are bright moments and there is a trajectory, but there are a lot of bumps and backslides. 

Sometimes we need to believe in the ease of a before and after to START.

But, don't let the before and after seduce you into feeling like a failure when the journey gets tough, when you have a bad day, or week, or month.  

Keep going forward.

Start and keep starting.

The road may be more muddled than expected, but moving forward is the way you will succeed. 

How to unlock the jaws of a sugar craving?

Eat protein. 

It is a pretty simple test, but does require prep.

First, you have to have protein with you.

I'd like you to have animal protein. The kind you have to chew (ie no shakes). 

Eggs, chicken, steak, pork.

The less processed the better. 

The test:

When you hear the cries for skittles (WE NEEEEDS THEM)...

...or a pastry (PUHLEEASE)

...or a donut (I MUST)

...or even dried fruit (BUT I AM TRYING TO AVOID THE DONUT!!)

1. Eat 2, 4, 6 ounces of your protein option first -

2. Wait 20 minutes (set a timer if you need to) and see - do you still really want the sugary delight? 

If the answer is YES? Well, ok.

If NO. Excellent!!! You are rewiring your brain! Let's celebrate with a self hi-five! 

Rinse. Repeat.

 

A New Beginning

When do you start?

Do you wait until there is a special day? Until a new month? A new year? Until tomorrow?

Do you wait until your birthday?

Until after the 4th of July?

Until after your friend's 30th birthday bash?

Or do you start now?

There are things in life you want. 

Sometimes you just have to start.

And keep starting.

Until you are doing. 

Marketing and Nutrition

Today's Tidbit Tuesday is about something I find fascinating.

It is incredible much we believe is shaped by other people.

We all know that marketing is a thing.

We know that it is used to persuade.

But I think that most of think that we are also pretty savvy. We like to think that we at least know when we fall victim to elaborate campaigns or a well designed label. (I am a sucker for a good wine label.)

So let's test this. 

In today's Tidbit Tuesday I pose the question: 

Which has the most Vitamin C?

  1. Oranges (100g)
  2. Brussel Sprouts (100g)
  3. Bell Peppers (100g)

Think you know the answer? Go ahead and guess - the video will be coming shortly!

Look for more on Marketing & Nutrition I plan to dig deep and find out more fun facts on how great marketing has influenced our food selection. 

All I want is coffee

This has been a rough week and it is only Wednesday :/

I switched to decaf coffee at the beginning of February.

I did it pretty gradually adding in more and more decaf coffee to my caf coffee until it was all decaf. That didn't suck too bad.

I have done this in the past and those first two days of no caffeine were MIS-ER-ABLE. I was a lump. I had no energy. No light. No focus. I was one sad panda.

But, I got through it.

And this time around it wasn't so bad. I didn't want to die, so that was cool.

But, my friends.

There is one thing I am leaving out. This time. Ohhh this time. I was like, you know what is okay?

Some dark chocolate.

I decided this right around V-day figuring it was apropos to embrace the delightful buzz of 80%+ dark chocolate. 

Yes. I know. Chocolate has caffeine. 

And OH YES. My body loved it.

My brain was so super happy. I'd have moments of OH MI GAWD I can be so productive! Which FEELS great in the moment, but isn't really helping my body for the long term.

Now is time to focus in on the long term. I want to get my body to a place where it isn't so dependent on stimulants to feel ammazeballs. I want that to come from me, I want to support my adrenal glands, and I want to one day maybe enjoy an occasional cup of caf coffee.

I also think chocolate is rad and will let it come to play again, but right now it is serving as a crutch and undermining my goals. 

So.

This month I am letting go of chocolate and boy, does this make me sad.

 

And all I want is a cup of coffee.

Sometimes the short term goal is so very tempting.

So. Very. Tempting.

And sometimes you have to mute it's siren call and focus on the long term goal.

One decaf sip at a time.

 

Need a shot?

Have you ever gotten nutrients pumped into your blood? 

No? Maybe?

What am I talking about?

Ok, if you don't like needles this may not be for you. But for the rest of you folk, have I got a treat for you! 

Now a needle might not feel treat-like, but your body... oh man your body, will be SO HAPPY.

A little while back (let's call it October) I headed over to Bella Fiore Klinik located in Upper Queen Anne. I was there for a couple reasons one was to check out my allergies and the other was to grab a shot at the shot bar

Let's talk about allergy testing first. 

The test I took measured IgG (Immunoglobulin G). IgG is an antibody and if you have a ton of antibodies in response to a certain type of food, you are definitely having a reaction to that food.  

When your body is in allergic state it is just reacting. It's like GUYS something in here IS NOT RIGHT! And the immune system gets the call to DEFEND THE BODY!

In the long term this is not good for the body. It adds to stress and can lead to chronic stress which means that the body cannot function properly aka bad news bears.

You take the taste by, as Dr. Heiger (who is rad) explained it,"finger painting with your blood".

SOUNDS FUN, RIGHT! Well, actually it kind of is, pin pricking your finger tip(s) is fairly painless and who doesn't love finger painting?

So my test. At the time I took it I was following a pretty strict eating plan. Pretty much only meat and veggies and within meat and veggies only certain veggies. This could affect results. I hadn't eaten wheat in at least six months, which means there is no wheat in my system for the antibodies to react to - HOWEVER - I might still have a problem with wheat. 

Make sense?

Not surprisingly wheat did not show up. What did was EGGS and in a pretty big way. Both regular and duck. Both to the white and the yolk. 

Sad, yes, but good to know because I can now make an informed decision rather than guessing. 

When your body isn't functioning well or is still healing (read: me) you might be reactive to foods you are not actually allergic to. As you heal your body can often handle you reintroducing foods that might initially have caused an allergic reaction. 

Meaning that maybe one day eggs and I can be reunited. 

Now. The shot.

Bella Fiore has a pretty awesome "Shot Bar" not the kind you drink, but the kind that are literally made of nutrients and shot directly into your bloodstream via a needle.  This is excellent because it bypasses the digestive tract which means you actually the absorb the nutrients without having to worry if they got processed through digestion or not. 

Want to try the Vitality Enhancer, how bout the Über Boost, or maybe you are more interested in the Shot of Bliss?

I went with the Liquid Zen which promised to help me "zen out" and I wasn't sorry. 

See more about the Shot Bar and prices here.

Check out more about Bella Fiore Klinik here.

Toasted Coconut Flakes (omgee so tasty) [Recipe]

Want a tasty treat? Roast them flakes!

I love this recipe because it is stupid simple and SUPER satisfying.

Step 1: Find yourself some Coconut Flakes. I like Edward & Sons, Organic Coconut Flakes, Unsweetened.

Step 2: Put about a TBS of Coconut Oil into a pan, I prefer a cast iron skillet. Warm pan on a lower heat to melt and spread the oil.

Step 3: Add a fair amount of the flakes (don't overfill). You want them to be laid pretty flat and even. 

Step 4: Keep the stove on a low to medium heat and keep your eye on the flakes. You will see them begin to brown, it doesn't take long. Eye their progress and don't let them burn. Stir them around. 

Step 5: Once they are sufficiently toasty take them off the heat.

Step 6: Optional. Add a bit of sea salt and/or add cinnamon. The taste is magic.

AND THAT IS IT! YOU DID IT! YOU MADE THEM!

Enjoy!

 

5 Tips When You Are Sick [Video]

I was on the mend so I made a video with cheesy graphics.

In this video I cover 5 tips for when you are sick:

#1 Let it work it's way through you!

#2 Don't dampen the sickness.

#3 Bone Broth - drink it.

#4 Minerals!!! (I will do a future post on this as well).

#5 Vitamin D. 

I was so sick last week

Sickness is no joke.

There is the good and the bad of it. The good, for me, was that I was so so so utterly sick that I could. not. possibly. do anything. 

And this is good?

For me yes. Because it meant I had no guilt for lying inert on my bed mainlining Netflix. There was simply nothing else I could possibly do. That was good.

The bad is that I felt awful. 

Super awful. 

And sad. 

That was less than optimal. 

Let's get back to the good. I had an epiphany.

During the week of ill I did not (read: could not) work out. 

After that week, I was think resume schedule per normal. Get back on it! Get it! Win it! And then I thought... HOLD THE PHONE... I don't need to do that AND I don't want to!

So. I am not going to!

I am actually going to LISTEN to my body and HEAR that it is still recouping and pushing it IS NOT THE WAY.

You guys. Epiphany.

I have a choice here. 

Fitness and health are my jam, but I got a whole lifetime to move closer to my goals forcing me into a week where I don't really want to - for no real reason makes no sense. AND it could prolong how long it will take for me to get well so that also makes no sense.

So... consider. What do you have a choice in?