VIDEO! My Morning Routine When I Travel + The One Simple Habit That Sets Me Up For Success

Do you wish you had a solid morning routine?

What if you could feel set up for success for the WHOLE day with one simple habit?

In this video, I share with you my morning routine when I travel & the one thing I have do to every morning to feel like I'm winning the day!

Win the day with this FREE cheatsheet, which includes simple, quick, and easy breakfasts: https://www.victae.com/cheatsheet/

Simply Morning Routine Travel Edition:
https://www.victae.com/…/simple-morning-routine-travel-edit…

My Morning Routine- How and Why I Became a Morning Person:
https://www.victae.com/victae-blog/my-morning-routine

Should You Eat Breakfast:
https://www.victae.com/victae-blog/should-you-eat-breakfast

How to Choose a Healthier Breakfast Cereal + My Top 3 Recommendations:
https://www.victae.com/victae-blog/how-to-choose-healthier-breakfast-cereal

A Simple Morning Routine-Travel Edition

The power of morning routines is undeniable.

When you win the morning, you win the day.

And as creatures of habit, we thrive off routines.

But travel throws a wrench into our routines, since vacation, by definition, is an experience outside of our daily habits.

My morning routine is so engrained in my daily practice that I often feel antsy and a little “off” when I don’t do it.

And part of my routine is a healthy breakfast.

But again, travel often throws a wrench in our healthy eating habits.

Do you feel the same way?

To beat this wrench-throwing travel fiasco, I found a solution to help me feel my best on vacation.

And I had to share it with you, because the solution is incredibly simple:

Eat the same healthy breakfast every day.

So simple, yet so effective.

Last week, I traveled to Virginia to visit family.

And on the first day there, my Mom and I went on a wild goose chase through town to find the precise breakfast items I wanted.

Apparently, Ezekiel cereal is hard to find, because we went to 5 grocery stores before finding it…

But once I found it, I had it every morning with warm unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, and creamy almond butter.

Simple breakfast.  Simple routine.

And the power of this simple morning routine on vacation was undeniable.

I didn’t feel antsy or “off.”

I didn’t overindulge the rest of the day, because I started my day strong.

I ate ice cream almost every night with my family, and looked forward to it each day, knowing I hadn’t eaten unhealthy from the very beginning of each day.

I felt great.

I didn’t spend time guessing and wondering what I would have for breakfast the next day.

And I looked forward to my breakfast each morning.

Your Action Step: 

When you’re traveling, establish a morning routine by eating the same healthy breakfast each day.

Perhaps you go to the same café and order the same thing each morning.

Or perhaps you do a quick shop for cereal and almond butter that you can have in the hotel.

No more time wasted, wondering “what should I have for breakfast?” or “where should we go out to eat today?”

Simple.

Healthy.

Routine.

Winning the day.

What will your travel edition morning routine be?

The Secret to Losing Weight...While You Sleep | + FREE Checklist on the Top 10 Tips for Better Sleep Tonight |

Have you noticed that you’ve gained a few pounds lately?

But you’re not sure why?

You’re eating healthy most of the time…

You’re working like a boss…

You’re even working out a few times per week…

So, what gives?

There might be an explanation to slow and steady weight gain that you’ll be surprised by:

You’re getting less than 7 hours per sleep.

Yeah, but who isn’t??

It turns out that poor sleep is a major contributor to weight gain.

Lack of adequate sleep (7-9 hours) puts you at a 55% greater risk of obesity!

That lack of sleep causes:

·        Your brain to crave high-calorie foods

·        A spike in cortisol (remember that stress hormone…link to article)

·        Your body to store fat

·        A decrease in your ability to process carbs (and therefore you store more fat)

·        Your metabolism to drop

·        An increase in cravings

Oh yes, that’s why you’re seriously craving sweets, and snacking like crazy after dinner!

And there’s fascinating research out there on this, like this one study, which followed 16 adults for 2 weeks in the inpatient setting, and deprived them of adequate sleep for 5 days.

You should know that “deprived” meant 5 hours of sleep per night for 5 days…

Sound like a typical work week to you?

In just those 5 days, the adults gained almost 2 lbs!

They ate more carbs, fat, and more calories in general after dinner.

When you’re tired, you simply eat more food.

And if that lack of sleep is chronic (hello, work like, family life, social life), the weight creeps on slowly and steadily.

Want better sleep?  And want it now?

I’ve created a checklist for you with my top tips that you can implement TODAY to get better sleep TONIGHT!

You can download your free checklist for the Top 10 Tips for Better Sleep Tonight here.

The Surprising Truth About Travel Dehydration + Your 5-Step Plan to Fix It!

Have you ever wondered why you feel so hungry after a flight?

Or that you have a headache and feel weirdly foggy as you walk off the plane?

By the end of a flight, the cabin can be significantly drier than the Sahara Desert!

Yes, that’s exactly why your skin feels so dry, your eyes and throat are scratchy, and you feel like you’ve just woken up from a 20-hour nap- hello, grogginess!

In a nutshell, dehydration wreaks havoc on our bodies.

We feel:

·        Hungry

·        Tired

·        Foggy

·        Groggy

And have:

·        Dry skin

·        Irritated eyes, nose, and throat

·        Nausea

·        Headaches

The main reason for feeling like this?

The air we breathe on the plane as we fly through the sky is 50% outside air.

Which has almost no moisture…

So, as we fly, the relative humidity drops from about 50% to 10%.

Dehydration then compounds:

·        That low humidity in the plane draws water out of our bodies

·        Drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol on flights leads to even more dehydration

·        Not to mention, we’re given a measly cup of water every 3 hours on a typical flight

·        Salty foods (“pretzels or peanuts?”) can further dehydrate us

And if you’re traveling to a place with high altitude, you’ll have to fight altitude sickness and further dehydration with more water.

Will all of that said, there’s still good news :)

You can actively fight off dehydration using these 5 simple steps:

1.      Fill up on water before getting on plane

2.      Drink one cup of water per hour on the plane

3.      Drink an extra cup of water for every serving of alcohol

4.      Bring hydrating snacks (apples + mini cucumbers travel well)

5.      Bring a greens powder to add to your water (you’ll benefit from extra nutrients, too)

Craving more travel tips?

Check out this article>> The One Thing I Ask Myself to Eat Healthier | Travel Edition

Is the Impossible Burger Healthy?

“I can’t believe this isn’t meat!”

I was more than a year into my vegetarian lifestyle when I first experienced the Impossible Burger.

The sizzle, the mouth-feel, the flavor, the look of a real, reddish, meaty burger…

It shocked me that this veggie patty wasn’t a full-on red meat burger.

I even felt like I was cheating on my vegetarianism when I ate the Impossible Burger!

Should I really be enjoying this burger…THIS much?!

Probably not 😉

But there’s one question I’m constantly asked:

Is the Impossible Burger healthy?

The quick answer:

Absolutely not.

But why? Aren’t I eating plants!?

Yes, true.

The Impossible Burger is completely vegan. 

It uses much less land and water to create the Impossible Burger than a meat patty does.

It’s more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

No animals are harmed in its making.

It’s halal and kosher certified.

And for us vegetarians and vegans, we’re able to partake in the experience of grabbing burgers and beers with our friends.

But in terms of nutritional benefits?  Are there any?

Well no, there’s not a lot.

The Impossible Burger packs a whopping 16% of your daily value of sodium!

Pair that with those deliciously salty truffle fries, cheese, and a white bun, and you’ll be feeling puffy all day.

There’s also no fiber in sight.

Traditional veggie burgers made with beans, rice, chickpeas, mushrooms, and other veggies are loaded with gut-healthy fiber.

But not the Impossible Burger. 

The lack of fiber is the price you pay for a burger that actually tastes like a burger.

And back to those deliciously salty fries, cheese, a white bun, and grabbing beers with friends…

All those foods are not nutritionally dense- I know, not shocking.

But does that mean you should avoid the Impossible Burger?

Absolutely not!

How boring life would be if we only ate “nutritionally dense” food.

I certainly don’t want to eat healthy food all the time (and spoiler alert, I don’t!).

But the more informed you are, the more empowered and confident you are in yourself when choosing what you’ll eat next.

Savor your food, have fun grabbing burgers and beers with friends, enjoy the innovation of a vegan burger that tastes like a red meat burger!

But maybe don’t eat it several times per week 😉

The One Food to Help You Be Happier

You know the expression, “Happy Wife, Happy Life?”

Well, I’m proposing an updated version of that:

Happy Gut, Happy Life!

You’re right, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…

But it does happen to be more accurate.

That’s because the happiness hormone, serotonin, is mostly made in our gut.

In fact, it’s a whopping 90% of serotonin that is made in our gut!

Serotonin is the “feel good” happy hormone that affects our:

  • Mood

  • Sleep

  • Appetite

  • Digestion

And if we’re low on serotonin, we:

  • Feel low

  • Have trouble sleeping

  • Feel anxious

  • Have cravings for sweet and starchy food

And chronically, low serotonin can increase the risk of:

  • IBS

  • Heart disease

  • Osteoporosis

So how do we make sure our bodies are producing enough serotonin?

Well, it all starts in the gut.

The microbes in our colon determine whether our cells make enough serotonin.

If we have a healthy and diverse group of microbes, then our cells can make serotonin.

And how do we make sure we have a healthy and diverse group of microbes?

We feed the good bugs in our gut!

And what do the good microbes eat?

FIBER!

Now, fiber comes in many shapes and sizes (soluble, insoluble, resistant) but there’s one type I want you to focus on:

PREBIOTICS!

Prebiotics are the specific fiber-rich, fermentable foods that feed the good microbes in our gut. 

Here’s your must-have list of prebiotics to add to your meals:

  • Bananas

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Artichokes

  • Soybeans

  • Oatmeal

  • Flax

  • Barley

  • Greens

  • Berries

When the microbes eat these foods, they grow and multiply and thrive.

And why is this all important?

Remember, Happy Gut, Happy Life!

When we feed the good microbes, they repay us by helping cells make serotonin.

And that serotonin, in turn, helps us live happier lives.

Need a few prebiotic-rich recipes to put in your meal rotation?

Try one of these to get you started:

>>Zero-Added Sugar Zucchini Muffins

>>Vegan Raspberry Muffins

>>Swiss Bircher Muesli

>>Rosemary White Bean Cauliflower Soup

>>Sweet Potato, Red Onion, and Spiced Chickpea Salad

 Your Action Step: Choose one prebiotic from that list that you will add to one of your meals this week!

Mother's Day Recipe Roundup! 15 Favorites to Celebrate Mom + FREE Cheatsheet

I love celebrating Mother’s Day, because I’m one of the lucky ones who has a mom as her best friend!

My mom is selfless, generous, and incredibly supportive- and she happens to be the best cook I know 😉

So in honor of my mom and her amazing cooking, I’ve rounded up my favorite Mother’s Day recipes that you can make for breakfast, brunch, a luncheon, a special dinner, or even dessert!

Why these recipes?

·        Can be whipped up quickly

·        Not many ingredients

·        Many can be made in advance

·        Saves you stress and gives you more time with your mom on Mother’s Day

What will you make for your mom this Mother’s Day?

Do You Need Collagen Supplements?

Have you jumped on the collagen train yet?

The trend of adding collagen peptides to drinks and smoothies for glowing, elastic skin and sipping on bone broth for healthy joints, healthy gut, and weight loss is exploding.

In 2018 alone, we spent $46.6 MILLION on collagen supplements!

And why are collagen peptide supplements so popular?

The promises of younger looking skin, weight loss, and healthy joints are appealing to almost everyone.

But are these promises true?

And are collagen supplements worth their high price tag?

Let’s see…

Have you asked yourself what collagen is?

Collagen is a type of protein, often referred to as our body’s “scaffolding.”

Why “scaffolding?”

Because the tissues that hold out body together is made out of collagen.

Think bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, blood vessels, our organs…

Yes, our whole body is made largely out of collagen.

And as we age, our collagen production declines.

Hence the desire of many people to boost their collagen supply!

But are collagen supplements necessary for boosting our collagen supply?

The truth is, collagen supplements may not be necessary for you to see the benefits of younger skin, strong and gorgeous hair, weight loss, healthy joints, and improved gut health.

While researchers have studied the effects of collagen, the results are often limited or biased.

Does it seem right that the collagen supplement industries should fund the research on collagen?

If you answered “no,” you’re right.

Industry backing of their own products is sketchy at best.

The research studies are also small, and there hasn’t been research on the long-term effects of collagen.

And the scope and number of clinical trials are lacking.

So, more research on the effects and necessity of collagen supplementation are needed.

But while we wait on the researchers to do their thing, what should we do in the meantime?

You can buy collagen peptides for about $50 for a month’s supply. 

And yet, those collagen supplements come with some risks.

You might experience an allergic reaction, or suffer the side effects of nausea, heartburn, headaches, diarrhea, constipation, and skin reactions.

So, is there a better way to boost your collagen supply without a high price tag or side effects?

Consider this:

Collagen is a type of protein, which means it’s a chain of amino acids linked together.

Whenever we ingest protein, whether that’s from a piece of chicken, quinoa, beans, or collagen peptides, we break down that protein into amino acids.

Here’s the thing, you don’t get to choose where those amino acids go in your body go, or how they are used.

Instead, your body prioritizes those amino acids for whatever your body needs them for.

In other words, those expensive collagen peptides your adding to your morning coffee might not be used for collagen production at all!

Your body chooses where those amino acids will be best used.

If your body is choosing how the protein you consume is used, you’re likely better off eating real food instead.

The protein from nuts, seeds, quinoa, spirulina, salmon, chicken, and eggs can be consumed to boost your collagen supply.

When it comes to healthy skin, healthy weight, healthy joints, and a healthy gut, a balanced diet is king.

·        Vitamin C-rich and antioxidant-rich foods boost collagen formation and skin regeneration

o   Think oranges, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes

·        Vitamin E can also help protect your skin, since it’s a powerful antioxidant

o   Think nuts, seeds, and whole grains

·        Even turmeric has collagen-boosting benefits 

o   You can make curries and Golden Milk to see turmeric’s benefits

·        Zinc and sulfur both play roles in collagen formation as well

o   Think chicken, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, onions, garlic, and broccoli

·        And don’t forget that protein, as mention above

o   Think nuts, seeds, quinoa, spirulina, salmon, chicken, and eggs

You see, a whole foods, plant-based diet allows you to get the protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals you need for healthy collagen production.

And be aware of the choices that actively reduce collagen.

Sugar actually can cause irreversible damage to the collagen in your body! 

Sugar binds to collagen, which creates AGE’s (advanced glycation end products), which causes a loss in the strength of the collagen.

Which then leads to wrinkled, saggy skin.

Just another reason to limit added sugar, isn’t it?

And be sure to load up on SPF to protect your skin from damage!

All of these can lead to the damage of collagen:

·        Sun exposure

·        Pollution

·        Smoking

·        Alcohol

Final thoughts:

Don’t let yourself get swept up by the marketing tactics of products, like collagen.

Always come back to your eating and lifestyle choices when trying to make a healthy decision.

And when in doubt, experiment with what works best for you and your needs.

Knowing what you know now, would you spend the money on collagen peptides?

Need a few collagen-boosting recipes?

>>Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Parfait

>>Easiest Vegan Chili

>>Foolproof Restaurant Quality Salmon

>>Tomatillo Chicken in a Pot

>>Raw Vegan Pad Thai

>>Red Lentil Stew

>>Anti-inflammatory Pasta Salad

>>Chewy Trail Mix Bars (Raw Vegan)

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: What You Need to Know and 5-Step Plan to Make it Work For You | + FREE Gift! |

Chances are you’re either stressed out by work or by kids.

How’d I know that?

Well, those are the two most common stressors in America, where striving for work-life balance seems to always be the goal (and always a struggle)…

And maybe you feel anxious, irritable, or especially tired from all the responsibilities you carry.

The chronic inflammation caused by daily, excessive stress can definitely take its toll:

·        Suppressed immune system

·        Colds

·        Illness

·        Increased risk of cancer

·        Increased risk of food allergies

·        GI issues

·        Increased risk of autoimmune disease

·        Depression, sadness, anxiety, fatigue, irritability

Ok, so what can you do about it?

It might seem obvious at first glance, but the Anti-inflammatory Diet is a surefire way to reduce inflammation in the body.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is based on the Mediterranean Diet, rated the Best Overall Diet of 2019 by US News and World Report.

But when you research the Med Diet, the amount of information out there is seriously overwhelming!

Information overload!

And when there’s too much information and overwhelm, we simply won’t take action.

How do you sort through all the research, tips, strategies, shopping lists, food lists, and recipes?

Well, that’s why I’m here 😉

Let’s first break this diet down into its simplest lessons!

Then I’ll give you an actionable step-by-step plan for you to do this week.

From information to action plan, let’s dive in!

The core tenets of the Med Diet:

·        Frequently eat a variety of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains like farro, barley, and bulgar, lentils, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds)

·        Focus on fiber (fruits and veggies galore)

·        Switch to healthful fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, olive)

·        Get omega-3’s from fish, walnuts, and flax

·        Season your food with an abundance of herbs and spices

·        Frequently consume tea

·        Enjoy two servings of fish per week

·        Moderately eat dairy and eggs

·        Have the occasional poultry (if you choose)

·        Get your sweet craving itch scratched by antioxidant-rich dark chocolate

·        Infrequently eat red meat

·        Infrequently indulge in sweets

·        Limit processed, refined food

·        Exercise daily

Ok, easier said then done. 

I mean, that’s a lot of “core tenets” to focus on if you think about it!

To avoid information overload and inaction, follow this actionable step-by-step plan to successfully reduce inflammation:

Step 1: Choose one of the two goals listed below:

1.      Eat one entirely plant-based meal this week at home

2.      Eat plant-based for an entire day

Which did you choose? 

Step 2: Look at your calendar for this week and choose either the meal or the day that you commit to eating plant based.

Which day did you choose?

Step 3: Schedule your plant-based meal or day in your calendar.

Did you schedule it?

Step 4: Choose the recipe(s) that you will make for that meal or day.

Need a few anti-inflammatory, plant-based ideas?

Try one (or all!) of these:

Green smoothie for breakfast

Anti-inflammatory pasta salad for lunch

Red lentil stew for dinner

Energy balls for snack

What recipe(s) did you choose?

Step 5: Complete your goal!

Did you eat plant-based for your planned meal or planned day?

Woohoo!  Celebrate! You took intentional action to lower inflammation in your body.

Which is what you wanted to do in the first place, right?

Yep, I’m right there with you 😊

Want even more meal and snack ideas that are quick, easy, and anti-inflammatory? 

Meals that you know can help you on your journey of eating healthier and living your best life?

I’ve got a FREE gift for you!

Download your FREE PDF of 21 Simple, Quick, & Easy Meals now! www.victae.com/cheatsheet

I’ll show you 21 meals (and snacks) that you can make in 15 minutes or less!

Oh, and you’ll only need 10 ingredients TOTAL to make ALL 21 meals and snacks 😊

Cheers to anti-inflammatory eating that doesn’t take time and energy!

Mind-Altering Microbiota + 5 Ways to Promote a Healthy Gut and Mood

Have you heard that you have two brains?

Yes, there’s the one in your head…

But what about the one in your gut?  The one known as your “second brain?”

There’s 100 million neurons running through your gut; that’s more neurons than in your spinal cord!

It’s no wonder that when you get nervous before a big presentation, your stomach churns, or when you have an exciting event, you get butterflies in your stomach.

The two brains (the one in your head and the one in your gut) are intimately connected.

Which means that those signals work in the opposite direction.

If your gut is unhealthy, you might experience more stress, anxiety, and depression.

When the GI system is irritated, the neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate our mood become “irritated” and out of balance, too.

Meaning an out-of-balance gut can trigger mood changes.

Those tiny microbiota are literally mind-altering.

An out-of-balance gut can occur for several reasons:

·        Poor diet (low fiber, high meat intake, processed foods, lack of variety)

·        Antibiotics

·        Proton pump inhibitors

·        Antacids

·        Stress

·        Environmental toxins

·        Food allergies

“A healthy mind breeds a healthy body, and visa versa.” - Zig Ziglar

Well, a healthy gut breeds a healthy mind and visa versa, too 😉

To reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, you have to prioritize your diet and lifestyle.

Here’s 5 tips to get you started in healing and promoting gut health:

·        Focus on fiber (hello, whole grains, fruits, and veggies!)

·        Don’t get stuck in a rut! Choose a variety of foods (whole grains, beans, lentils, various fruits/veggies)

·        Consume probiotics as part of a healthy diet (yogurt, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi)

·        If you do eat meat, treat it like a condiment instead of the main event

·        Swap in fresh food in place of processed snacks and meals

And if you want some specific recipes to get you started to eating for gut health and mental health, I’ve got you covered!

Chewy Trail Mix Bars>>

Anti-Inflammatory Pasta Salad>>

Easiest Vegan Chili>>

Red Lentil Stew>>

10 Minute Healthy Stir Fry>>

Which one will you try first?

My Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Reducing Stress

If you’re frequently stressed out, you’re certainly not alone. 

According to Gallup, 80% of Americans feel stress on a daily basis.

Woah, that’s a lot of people…

And in a fast-paced world where “busy” is rewarded and hectic schedules abound, daily stress takes its toll.

We’ve all been there:

·        Running late to a meeting

·        Trying to put a fire out at work

·        Managing the schedules and emotions of children

·        Or juggling numerous projects while trying to have a social life

We’ve experienced the immediate effects of stress:

·        Faster heart rate

·        Faster, shorter breathing

·        Tensed muscles

All perfectly normal signs of stress, which can give us that beneficial edge to getting work done. 

But what if we never fully come down from elevated stress? 

What happens to our bodies and mind then?

The effects of chronic stress are:

·        Weight gain

·        Insomnia

·        Anxiety

·        Depression

·        Weakened immune system

·        Reduced nutrient absorption

·        High blood pressure

·        High blood sugar

·        And even fertility problems

In the moment, you might not feel like you have to worry about stress- it’s normal, right?

But if you’re gaining weight, having trouble sleeping, struggling with anxiety, or are constantly getting sick, you might want to consider managing your stress through lifestyle tweaks.

The good news is you CAN reduce stress naturally, with food (in conjunction with exercise, quality sleep, meditation, and other tricks for winding down).

Here are my top 5 nutrition tips for reducing stress through food:

·        Eat a high-fiber diet (a minimum of 25-30 grams of fiber per day)

·        Eat a whole food, plant-based diet (i.e. lots of fruit, veggies, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains)

·        Limit foods that make your blood sugar spike (beware “healthy” snacks that are sneakily high in sugar, like most yogurt)

·        Eat the rainbow (antioxidants come in different colors, so eat a variety of fruit and veggies)

·        Enjoy probiotics (kombucha, miso, yogurt, probiotic supplements, kimchi, sauerkraut)

Throughout the month, I’ll continue to provide specific strategies and tips you can do right NOW to reduce stress and the effects of stress.

Your Action Step: What is ONE THING you can do today that will help you reduce stress? Use the 5 tips above to inspire you.  If you need extra help with this one, simply email me!  I’m here to support you 😊

Need a few recipe ideas to reduce inflammation caused by stress?

Check out these popular, easy, and fun anti-inflammatory recipes:

>>Fruit Sushi with Pomegranate Roe

>>Detox Salad

>>Zero-Added Sugar Zucchini Muffins

>>Anti-Inflammatory Pasta Salad

>>Strawberry and Mint Spring Rolls with a Lime Peanut Sauce

The One Thing I Ask Myself To Help Me Eat Healthier | Travel Edition |

Here’s one thing you might not know about me:

I hate large crowds.  I become claustrophobic and a little hot and anxious. 

So, connecting in LaGuardia on Monday was a little crazy. 

I walked quickly away from the crowded gates and to the Food Court. 

When I travel, I tend to eat consistently, even when I’m not hungry.

It seems like the best way to pass the time…

As you know, there aren’t many healthy choices in an airport food court. 

I made two laps through the LGA Food Court, searching for something that would satisfy. 

I stared at the burger joint’s menu and saw an egg and American cheese sandwich on a Kaiser roll.

And then asked myself one thing:

How is this going to make me feel?

Well, not very good, I guessed. 

This one thought changed everything. 

I made another turn and found that the coffee station behind me actually offered smoothies!

And healthy smoothies! Not the ones masquerading as healthy but are sugar bombs waiting to give you a stomach ache.

I chose a green smoothie with banana, kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, and coconut oil.

Someone remarked, “Oh, how very healthy!”

It was.  And it was also delicious 😊

I paired the green smoothie with homemade energy balls, which are sweet and satisfying and taste like cake! 

Here’s your action step: The next time your faced with a few food choices, ask yourself “How is thing going to make me feel?”

It jolts you out of an emotional decision (melty American cheese sounds really good right now….) and into a decision that you might feel better about.

Here’s the other thing about asking yourself this question:

You might decide, “well, not very good” but still decide to get the egg and cheese sandwich.

That’s ok too!  Because you took a second to think about it.  And you owned your decision.

Now that’s what I call healthy.

Need a few ideas for delicious and healthy homemade snacks for your next trip?

>>Recipe for Lemon Blueberry Muffin Energy Balls

>>Recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Superfood Raw Brownies

>>Recipe for Lemon Amaretto Cookies

What Are You Made Of?

Yesterday morning, a local headline caught my eye.

It announced the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of a new Chick-fil-A located outside Milwaukee.

Last night, Matthew said to me how dangerous that Chick-fil-A will be for him…

It’s landed right next to his work.

He’s worried that he’ll eat there too often, since it’s right around the corner.

And while he doesn’t want to eat fast food frequently, the temptation for him is all too real.

Fast food chains play to their strengths of being convenient.

Conveniently fast, conveniently playing to our food cravings, conveniently right around the corner.

So the question then becomes:

How do we choose something healthy and homemade over something so convenient and crave-worthy?

To answer that, I’ll share with you what I said to Matthew last night:

 “Our bodies can’t survive without food.

Without food, we would waste away.

So when we think about food in that way, we realize that food acts as the building blocks for our bodies. 

Every time we eat, we choose our building blocks.  What we’re made of…

The protein, fat, carbs and all the nutrients in food are the building blocks to our brains, nerves, muscles, heart, lungs, bones, hormones…everything about us.”

Matthew quickly affirmed that he didn’t want the building blocks of his body to constantly come from fried chicken sandwiches!

And while it’s amusing to think of being made of Chick-fil-A sandwiches, I think the image is powerful.

If you think of food as the building blocks for your entire being, does that impact your own decisions around food?

Just to be clear, I believe that food is more than fuel and building blocks.

Food is the access ramp to memories, culture, family, relationships, celebrations, and emotions.

And health is the accumulation of our daily habits.

So if you consider your daily building blocks, what are you made of?

The 6 Words to Describe My Approach to Nutrition | + How it affects you personally |

I wouldn’t want to tell you what I eat because you’d judge me…

It’s a common phrase that many RD’s hear.

And the sad truth is that many RD’s are, in fact, the food police.

When I was a teenager, I saw an RD who taught me “proper” portions and how to count calories. 

And while that kind of knowledge can be helpful to a certain degree, it doesn’t paint the whole picture of how to eat healthy and how to be healthy.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, I want to share with you my approach to nutrition and nutrition coaching.

Disclaimer #1: I never judge what you eat.

Disclaimer #2: I never judge what I eat.

I can sum up my specific approach to nutrition with 6 key words:

1.      Nondogmatic

2.      Science-based

3.      Open-minded

4.      Experimental

5.      Balanced

6.      Healthy

Let’s take them one at a time 😊

Nondogmatic:

There’s simply no one-size-fits-all diet. 

And how could there be?

Each of us has a unique:

·        Lifestyle

·        Food likes and dislikes

·        Goals

·        Health history

·        Activity level

·        Career

·        Genetics

·        Intolerances and sensitivities

So I approach each client as the unique person that she is. 

And while there are key nutrition strategies that are healthful for people in general (greens and grains can’t hurt), each of us is a special snowflake when it comes to what, when, where, how, and why we eat.

The takeaway- I never push a specific nutrition dogma on you. 

I’ve run the gamut of eating certain ways myself, and each have their benefits, from veganism to Whole 30.  It’s all an experiment (see below).

Seriously, no dogmas here.  And no judgement.

Science-Based:

Ya’ll, I’m a complete science nerd!

Between my Master’s in nutrition, becoming an RD through a second bachelor’s degree, and doing biological research most of my adult life, it’s safe to say I’m into the science.

Even all my recipes have a “why” behind them.

So when it comes to nutrition tips and strategies, I don’t hop on the latest craze and diet trend.

I have a very discerning eye when fads pop up, and after years of practice, I know how to read those complicated science articles with all the overwhelming jargon.

All this to say, are you in good hands?? (cue the Allstate deep voice)

Trust me when I say, you are 😊

Open-minded:

No one knows your body better than you do.

So, when you say you’re intolerant to a food, I trust you.

When you tell me you’re sensitive to something, I trust you.

I’m here to help guide you to feel your best, to give you the tools you need to reach your goals.

I’m not here to tell you it’s my way or the highway.

We work together to make your diet and lifestyle habits work for you.

Experimental:

I view the way we decide to eat as a bunch of small experiments.

Feeling bloated and gassy?

Well, let’s experiment with why that would be?  What could be causing your symptoms? What’s working? What’s not?

Because I’m a science nerd (see above), I take a systematic approach to helping you find the best way to eat, that works for you.

Every meal is an experiment.  How did it make you feel?  Amazing? Awesome, keep experimenting.

Balanced:

Balance means two things to me.

You can have a balanced meal, where you’re eating nutrient-dense fruits, veggies, lean protein, starches, and healthy fats.

But you can also eat a huge piece of a triple layer carrot cake after that nutrient packed meal.

It’s called balance.

It’s also called sanity.

Healthy:

Healthy is not just about the food you eat.

It’s about enjoying the food you eat. 

It’s about having a double scoop of ice cream in -25 degree weather because you’re having a fun evening with your husband.

It’s about food memories with the ones you love.

It’s about mental health, joy, contentment, satisfaction, meaningful work, meaningful relationships.

Healthy encapsulates body, mind, and spirit.

And if you’re eating “super clean” but are miserable on the inside, well my friend, that’s just not healthy.

Take good care of yourself.

And if you need a little support doing so, I’m here for you.

My Morning Routine- Why and How I Became a Morning Person

My morning routine helps me feel grounded, productive, and like I’ve won the whole day! 

Let me walk you through it 😊

What time do I wake up?

I’m a member of the 5 AM club.  I get excited to walk down my stairs, look out the windows, and see the whole city asleep. 

I adore the stillness and quietness of the city, knowing that in 2 hours, the roads will be bustling with morning commuters rushing to work.

Getting up early means I also get to see the sun rise, a daily event that is so moving and powerful. 

I feel both empowered and peaceful.

What are my non-negotiables?

Matthew and I make our bed immediately.  It takes us about 30 seconds to make, but has a lasting impact for the entire day.

As the saying goes, “messy bed, messy head.”

I feel cluttered if the bed isn’t made, so I like to start my day with a strong start of decluttering and a feeling of accomplishment.

Plus, I love getting into a made bed at the end of a long day.  It makes the winding down process at night seamless. 

My other non-negotiable in the morning is a making coffee.

Every morning is the same: I rinse out the coffee pot from the day before, fill up the coffee maker with water, freshly grind whole coffee beans, and brew the coffee. 

I pour myself a room temperature or warm glass of water and drink at least half before drinking my coffee.  

Rehydration first thing in the morning is so important- you’ve gone several hours without a sip!

What helps set me up for success for the day?

Matthew and I read our devotional, Jesus Calling, every morning.  It’s only a paragraph or two, but it’s powerful.  It centers our minds and our hearts on God, love, gratitude, and trust.

Then, I journal.

I truly believe that journaling is a super power.  I gain so much clarity and focus from journaling, I can’t imagine skipping it!

What do I journal about?

I have a journaling framework that I follow every day, a framework I created for myself over the past year of journaling consistently every day.

I first write about the events, conversations, and lessons learned from yesterday, what was a success, what I loved and enjoyed, and what I learned. 

I then write about what I am grateful for, small and big.  I write down the people in my life I’m grateful for, my experiences, things about work and health, as well as the small things in my life that bring me joy (yes, I write down black coffee here.)

Then, I write “Today’s Three to Thrive.”

What is “Today’s Three to Thrive?”

This is where I write down the three things that would make today a success if I accomplished them.

When I write “Today’s Three to Thrive,” I become laser-focused on what I need to accomplish during the day.  This habit keeps me from becoming sidetracked.  It helps me zero in on what’s important for the day.  It keeps me focused.  And I refer to my “Three to Thrive” throughout the day to make sure I’m on track and placing my energy on the most important work.

At the beginning of the week, I also have started writing my “Weekly Three to Thrive.”  These are the 3 most important tasks and projects for the entire week, the things that would make me feel accomplished and amazing when I check them off the list at the end of the week.

Writing down my “Three to Thrives” have been an absolute game changer for my life.  Seriously, try it.  I’m telling you, it’s a super power that you can harness too!

How long have I had this morning routine?

I’ve been doing this same routine for 1.5 years.

I used to use the 5-Minute Journal when I was just getting started (link).

Now that I have a journaling routine and have established writing as a morning habit, I use this journal (link).  It’s my absolute favorite- I love the leather hardcover, and the pen holder ensures I’m never without my writing instrument. 

What time do I go to bed?

Matthew and I try to be upstairs, getting ready for bed by 8:30/9 PM.  That allows us to be asleep by 9:30 or so.

I typically get 7 hours of sleep, which is plenty for me.  I usually jump out of bed, energized. 

Matthew follows same routine

Is there anything I do before bed to make my morning routine easier?

First, the bed is already made from the morning!

Then, we usually read a few pages of a book, which helps us wind down.

And the phone is always on airplane mode so we don’t get disturbed by texts and calls.

Do I snooze the alarm?

Oh boy, this was a bad habit that I have recently kicked.

What helped me turn from a chronic alarm snoozer to someone who jumps out of bed is to associate my identity with someone who is not a snoozer.  I simply say, “I am not a snoozer,” and then get out of bed.  Try it- I think you’ll find it’s a useful and effective affirmation.

And now that I’ve established a morning routine that makes me feel energized, productive, focused, and grounded, I look forward to getting up early 😊

How soon do I check my emails?

I never check email until about 9 AM.  It’s a rabbit hole of distraction.

I like my first 4 hours to be proactive instead of reactive. 

How soon do I check social media?

I also don’t check my phone for social media until after a workout, around 11 AM. 

Again, rabbit hole or reactivity.

What do I love most about my morning routine?

The act of making my bed, reading the devotional, journaling, practicing gratitude, and writing my Three to Thrive list makes me feel:

·        Productive

·        Focused

·        Empowered

·        Successful

·        Joyful

·        Grounded

·        Like I completed a whole day’s worth of work in 4 hours!

By putting my morning practices into place, I now can’t wait to get out of bed at 5 AM and start my day strong.

Starting a morning routine was hard a first.  And it certainly takes time to create a routine. 

But getting enough sleep, having wonderful habits to look forward to, and knowing how good I feel after a solid morning routine, has made getting up early easy. 

if there’s one thing I would encourage you to do as part of your morning routine, it would be:

Journaling.

I’m telling you, it’s a super power. 

Don’t have time to journal?

Yes, you do.  You have 5 minutes (or can create the space by getting up 5 minutes earlier) to journal.

Gratitude and having a plan for the day will change your life. 

Let me know if you try it 😊

What’s your morning routine?  Comment below-I can’t wait to read yours. 

How Do You Take Your Coffee?

My morning starts at 5 AM each day, and the first thing I do before my mind even starts to work is make a pot of coffee.

It’s muscle memory to me after years of making coffee every single morning.

My iPhone alarm rings every morning at 5 AM.  I roll out of bed, walk downstairs, turn on my fireplace (yes, I love how a gas fireplace starts with the flip of a switch), grind fresh coffee beans, and make a pot of coffee for Matthew and me.

We drink it black in our favorite speckled coffee house mugs that we collect on our travels.

I find I drink it less for the energy jolt, and more because I love the coziness of my hot bitter drink every morning.

I frequently get asked is healthy coffee, which is a great question!

But I think an even better question may be, how do you take it?

Let me walk you through everything you should consider when reaching for your cuppa joe:

How to Choose a Healthier Breakfast Cereal | + My Top 3 Tips and Recs | + VIDEO |

Have you ever walked down the cereal aisle and felt completely overwhelmed by all the options?

You stroll down the aisle and see a “Mom’s Best Raisin Bran” cereal box. 

You know, the one made from recycled paper, depicting wildlife, and informing you that their cereal is made with “whole grain oats” and “no high fructose corn syrup.” 

Simple and honest ingredients, they say.

That cereal looks and sounds really healthy, you think. 

Pleased with your decision, you put the cereal in your basket, and continue grocery shopping.

How frustrated would you be if you found out that the cereal you chose has 6 grams MORE added sugar than a serving of Lucky Charms?

Pretty darn frustrated.

You’d probably feel deceived, too. 

After all, you had the best intentions to eat healthier and serve your children a healthy breakfast!

You thought you were making a thoughtful choice…

To outsmart the marketers, here are my top 3 tips for choosing a healthier cold cereal:

1.      Read the ingredient list

The ingredient list will reveal a lot about the nutritional quality of the cereal. 

Is sugar, brown rice syrup, maltose, fructose, sucrose, maple syrup, corn syrup, honey, or invert sugar listed? 

Are there flavors and preservatives, like phosphates, listed? 

The more sugar and the more processed the ingredients, the better off you are finding an alternative.

Too much added sugar (more than 25 grams per day) can increase stress, anxiety, energy crashes, and weight gain. 

No thank you!

2.      Read the nutrition label

Pay attention to serving size.  Many cereal labels may look reasonably healthy, until you realize that those 200 calories and 7 grams of sugar are only for 1/3 cup serving! 

Most of us eat more than 1/3 cup of cereal, so choose one that packs a nutritional punch for each serving.

Limit added sugars and choose a high-fiber (4 grams or more per serving) for better heart health, mood, and weigh management.

3.      Choose less processed items

The less processed, the better.  Processed cereals have more sugar, sodium, and preservatives than is good for us. 

So, what cold cereals should you choose?

Ones that are high in fiber, high in protein, low in sugar, low in salt, and minimally processed.

My top cereal picks that check those boxes:

>>Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal, Golden Flax

·        This cereal has 8 grams of protein, no added sugar, and 6 grams of fiber per serving

·        All the ingredients are organic (wheat, barley, flax seeds, millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt, and sea salt)

>>Alpen No Added Sugar Muesli

·        This cereal has 6 grams of protein, no added sugar, and 5 grams of fiber per serving

·        The raisins provide both sweetness, fiber, and iron 

>>Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal

·        This cereal has 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber (wow!) to keep you full until lunch

·        This cereal does have 13 grams of sugar for those who do have a sweet tooth, but the fiber will help manage your blood sugar better

·        TIP: This is a great transitional cereal if you’re used to sweet cereals! Mix this with a no added sugar cereal to balance the sugars

 

Should You Eat Breakfast? Or Should You Be Skipping It?

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is an absolute must-have for young children and adolescents. 

But do adults need breakfast? 

And if they do, why?

Let’s take a look at what the research says:

Why you’re likely skipping breakfast:

Only about 30% of people eat breakfast!

Eating breakfast is a challenge for many people.

Do you resonate with any of the following reasons for skipping?

·        You don’t have enough time to eat breakfast.

·        You’re too busy to make breakfast. 

·        You’re trying to lose weight, so you don’t want the extra calories of breakfast. 

·        You think eating breakfast will make you hungrier throughout the day. 

·        You’re not hungry. 

·        You’d rather sleep those extra minutes

·        And then breakfast is controversial…

·        Should you be putting grass-fed butter in your coffee?? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post…

If you’ve ever skipped breakfast or are in the habit of not eating breakfast, you’ll definitely want to keep reading. 

Once you see the benefits, you may just be motivated to become a breakfast eater 😊

Why you should NOT skip breakfast:

You ready for this? Here’s we go!

Should You Go Gluten-Free? What the Research Says

Why Go Gluten-Free?

Celebrities, like Victoria Beckham and Miley Cyrus have touted that gluten is bad for our health.

Many claim that a gluten-free (GF) diet helps with weight loss and getting into shape.

And if you’re like the millions who have tried the Whole30 diet, you’ve likely read their thoughts on gluten:

“Gluten is such nasty stuff…”

But if you’re curious what the research says about gluten and if you should be GF, read on!

What Does the Evidence Show?

According to current scientific research, there’s no evidence that supports the health claims of a GF diet for the general public.

In fact, gluten itself has several health benefits…

What is Gluten Anyway?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Who Should NOT Eat Gluten?

There are a few groups of people who should avoid gluten:

·        Celiac

o   Found in about 1 % of the population

o   An autoimmune disease

o   Can lead to malabsorption of nutrients and damage to the intestine

o   People with celiac significantly benefit from a strict GF lifestyle

·        Gluten sensitivity

o   Found in about 6% of the population

o   Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, gas, bloating, and diarrhea when eating gluten

o   Unlike celiac, there are no antibodies to gluten or damage to the intestine

·        Wheat allergy

o   Found in 0.1% of Western populations

o   The allergy is to wheat, not to gluten

·        Autoimmune disorders

o   Examples include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

o   May see symptom relief when limiting gluten

·        IBS, T1DM, and psoriasis

o   Some data shows a GF diet can lessen symptoms

What About Weight Loss?

There are no published reports showing that those without celiac or gluten sensitivity lose weight on a GF diet.

And there are a few studies that actually show weight gain in overweight/obese people with celiac who go GF.

This weight gain may occur because, without the disturbance of gluten, people with celiac can better absorb other nutrients.

GF food does not mean it is low calorie.  In fact, some GF foods have more calories than their gluten-full counterparts.

And many GF foods lack whole grains and fiber, both of which can help with weight loss.

What About Gut Health?

If someone does not fall into the areas where a GF would be beneficial, unnecessarily cutting out wheat, barley, and rye means cutting out health-promoting starches.

These starches are critical for gut health, which helps:

·        Lower blood sugar

·        Reduce body weight

·        Improve immune status

·        Metabolize fat

·        Absorb vitamins and minerals

A GF diet may unfortunately reduce the good bacteria in our gut, which negatively affects our gut health.

What About General Health?

There are several health benefits of gluten:

·        May help lower triglyceride levels and LDL

·        Gliadin (part of the gluten protein) can help lower blood pressure

·        Gluten contains glutamine, an amino acid that boosts our immune system

Conclusion:

GF products are great for those who definitely need a GF lifestyle (celiac, autoimmune, etc.)

A GF diet:

·        Isn’t necessarily healthier for the general population

·        Doesn’t help with weight loss

·        May negatively affect gut health

And if you feel better on a GF diet, consider these:

·        Could you feel better because you cut down on excess sugar, fat, calories, and salt

·        Did you lose weight because you cut down on processed foods that happen to have gluten in them (desserts, white breads, white pasta, sugary breakfast items)

If you are GF:

Be sure to balance your diet so you don’t cause unintentional negative health consequences!