Friday, December 26, 2014

Seven Simple Steps to Cure a Food Hangover

  The food hangover.  We've all experienced one.  Too much YOLOing with cookies, ice cream, chocolate, chips, ice cream, candy, cheese, bread, ice cream and blah blah blah.  Beyond the guilt of over indulging and your jeggings feeling a little tighter, you feel like complete C.R.A.P.

  Food hangovers can come in the form of bloating, stomach aches, gastrointestinal distress, fatigue, headaches, and mental incoherence.  Our bodies aren't used to digesting certain foods (aka Highly Digestive Foods) in such high amounts, so our entire system goes haywire.  

  The key to recovering from a food hangover is to replenish critical systems and give your digestive tract a break.  These remedies are real food approaches.  You could always take an antacid, but we in the holistic community think they do more harm than good.    


  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate:  If you hopped off the whole food bandwagon for the sugar express, you are probably dehydrated at some level.  Aim for at least an ounce of water per pound of body weight.  I always feel so much better after a few glasses of water!
  2. Broth:  Broth, specifically homemade from animal bones, contains gelatin.  Gelatin aids and helps repair digestion.  You can use broth to make soup, cook veggies, or just drink it straight.
  3. Ginger or Peppermint Tea:  Both Ginger and Peppermint are known for stomach relief, specifically for pain or distress.
  4. Well Cooked Starchy Veggies: Such as sweet potatoes or squash.  The soluble fiber will help things move through a bit easier.  
  5. Meditation: If we are stressed out, digestion will be one of the first systems to be put on the back burner.  Highly Offensive Foods stress our body.  Being intentional about not stressing out, even if it's just for ten minutes, will help our digestion get back on track.  
  6. Avoid even more offensive foods:  This includes sugar, alcohol, and caffeine, including coffee.  Remember, we want to give our body a break, so a little hair of the dog may do more harm than good.  
  7. Time:  The old saying goes "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."  You've worked hard to get rid of the toxic garbage in your life.  But now your body considers certain food toxic and it takes time to get it out.  
  Regular probiotics will help build a bullet proof stomach so bad food doesn't hit you quite as hard.  Of course I am a fan of whole food sources of probiotics such as kombucha, raw sauerkraut, or kimchee.  But if you do not have access to these foods or they gross you out, you can find a good supplement from your local health food store.  

  Remember that the best way to avoid a food hangover is to avoid the food in the first place.  But you and I live in the real world and ice cream is just so gosh darn good.  When you do find cause to induldge, do it and move on.

  Because ya know, YOLO and all that.

Cheers!

-Kelsey


I'd love to hear about your real food remedies for a toxic food hangover!  Please share in the comments!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why I Oppose the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014

Have you heard of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014?  You may have heard it by it's alter ego name- the Denying Americans the Right to Know Act, or otherwise shortened to the DARK Act.  No matter what you call it, it refers to a piece of legislation introduced in April 2014 by Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas.  The bill (H.R. 4432) was created to amend the existing Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act pertaining to foods that have been in some way bio-engineered (OR food that would be considered GMO by most people).  

My goal when sharing information with all of you is to avoid playing off your fears and give you a thoroughly researched overview.  For that reason, I have gone directly to the source and read the bill.  Before you form an opinion about any of this, I encourage you do do the same.  You can find both a summary and a full text version at congress.gov or just by clicking here.  

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At the surface, a bill called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act sounds awesome.  Who doesn't want accurate labeling to keep us all safe?  However, after reviewing the H.R. 4432, I cannot justify support for such a far reaching and imposing piece of legislation.  

To be clear, this law would specifically pertain to plant matter with altered DNA (Section 101, 1-3).  This has nothing to do with the crossbreeding argument, my friends.  

I've pulled out the specific details that I feel create cause for concern and paraphrased for those of you short on time.  I also included the section of the H.R. 4432 where the specifics can be found:

  • The entire process of pre-market (before it's available for sale) GMO labeling would take place at one of the highest levels of our government.  Meaning that the manufacturer of said product would present its' case to the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the USDA's voluntary consultation process. (Section 102, B).  
Why this is an Issue:  Excuse my skepticism, but I've yet to be amazed by any government controlled entity or process.  Especially when it comes to the food system or my health.  Through this new process, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have direct control in determining if the end product is genetically different enough from the organic form to be considered genetically altered.

  • The individual rights of the states would have NO authority to mandate individual labeling pertaining to GMOs (Section 104, B).  
Why this is an Issue: The idea of centralized control of our food system is incredibly frightening.  One office in our entire nation would have complete control as to whether or not you are allowed to know if a product was genetically modified... or more accurately, genetically modified ENOUGH to be labeled.

  • If the Secretary of Health and Human Services decides that the product is not genetically modified enough to to warrant a GMO label, the product can be labeled as "Natural" (Section 201).  
Why this is an Issue:  Sorry, but.... WHAT?  Ok, let's think of it this way...  the only reason a food would go through this entire process is because the DNA has been altered in the first place.  So if it's not TOO generically modified, it is totally acceptable to slap a "Natural" label on the food.  Hmpf.  

  • Individual states would have NO authority to say a manufacturer cannot market these products as "Natural" (Section 202).  
Why this is an Issue:  Again, this is allowing one office of the government to control a label that, at a glance, implies that a product is healthy.  I just can't understand why this is a good idea...


Guys, this is an issue.  I can assure you that no matter what you think is the healthiest way to live our lives, the answer does not lie with giving total control of labeling to the federal government.

My typical response to the GMO argument is to stop buying processed food and go straight to your farmer.  However, someone could write an entire book on the amount of damage that has been done by USDA policy being dictated by personal and corporate agendas.  Ohhhhhh wait... Nina Teicholz already has

In my humble opinion, this policy is another misstep in the long line government oversight into our health and wellness.  

What Can You Do:

There is a hearing on H.R. 4332 on Wednesday, December 8th.  Below is a list of congressmen and women who will be sitting in on this hearing.  Please note this is not up for a vote... YET.  But your voice NOW can set the tone for the entire trajectory.  If you have an opinion on GMO labeling and the rights of individual states, please call before Wednesday.  




A note to the haters:  


Before the haters jump in to claim that I am an ignoramus for not knowing that there have been no clinical trials proving any danger in GMOs.... I KNOW.  The point of this write-up is not to tell you that GMOs are dangerous.  Besides enough anecdotal evidence to fill the internet, the is quite frankly no hard scientific evidence to support that assertion.  

My case is that I have no interest in consuming Genetically Modified Organisms.  And as an American consumer, I have a right to know how a food product has been manufactured before I put it in my body.  Because, ya know, 'Murica and all that.  


-Kelsey

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Own It (Don't Earn It)

Let me ask you a question....

Are you planning a Day-Before-Thanksgiving-Killer-Workout?  Maybe you've already done one?

That's awesome- I think in as far as recovery days, Thanksgiving is probably one of the best strategies.  All the protein and carbs will repair your fatigued body and will probably set you up for some massive progress in the days following.

But here's the thing....  did you tell yourself you're doing this workout so you can earn your feast?  You want pumpkin pie, so you're going to log an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill.  Gluten free rolls?  That's an extra 50 burpees.  And the mashed potatoes and gravy.... those are totally worth starving yourself leading up to the meal.

In fact, you've planned your dinner mitigating workouts down to the calorie.  That turkey doesn't stand a chance against you.


You've earned it.





Whoa.  Whoa  Whoa.  Let's slow down a minute.

From where I'm standing, you've turned your feast into a one way ticket to crazy town.

You probably know from experience that one meal will not make you fat, just like one meal will not make you lean.  Your body composition is directly related to long term habits, not a mega meal with your friends and family.

Approaching Thanksgiving, or any holiday for that matter, with the "I've earned it" mentality inevitably creates guilt and anxiety.  This is supposed to be a meal filled with joy, love, and thanks.

Additionally, the "earning it" mentality is a slippery slope.  Today you're trading pie for burpees.  Tomorrow you're trading ice cream for stationary bike sprints, bread for kettlebell swings, and cake for miles on the trail.  Before you know it, you're on a never ending treadmill with a pay-to-play mentality for nutritionally devoid food.

And if you're feeling pretty bad about yourself now, I am just going to kick you while you're down....  Watch your daughters, because they are watching you.  It's totally acceptable to teach your children to eat right and move well, but this behavior will associate food with guilt and anxiety, which has a high probability of turning into disordered eating down the road.

So, now that I've ruined your entire season, what to do?

Here's a thought....

Own It.


Instead of excusing away every bite you take, approach it as if you have complete control of what you are putting in your mouth.  Because newsflash....  you do.

Recognize that every forkful you eat of ANY food has a serious implication on your body.  It could turn you into a super hero or a trench dwelling fun sucker.  Appreciate the good food for the nutritive value.  Respect the bad food for keeping you sane.

You know how your body works better than anyone.  I know I need a high fat, high protein breakfast or else I run out of energy by 11am.  I know that my homemade Kombucha is like deploying reinforcements for my immune system.  And a sweet potato for dinner helps me kick it into high gear for a 5:30am workout.

I also know that sometimes I need some frozen custard to nourish my soul.  I can promise you that I am under no illusion that I've earned it.  Even if I do 50 extra burpees, the spike in insulin is still going to keep me from my goals.  And exactly how have I earned my place is a super wealthy, free country with frozen custard stands on every corner?  And down the slippery slope I go...

Nourishing your body can come from nutrients from food, regeneration from sleep, and the (occasional) indulgence of frozen custard.  But feeling guilty about it can block that benefit.  And then we're none the better.

Own It.


You can approaching Thanksgiving one of three ways.

You can follow a strict set of rules to make sure you don't feel guilty meanwhile making yourself crazy and everyone around you feel bad.

You can go gangbusters and eat every yummy morsel in sight, but hit the hay that night feeling defeated.  Only to get up the next day and kill yourself at the gym trying to work it off.

Or you can respect your food.  Give thanks to the farmer who raised it, your mother-in-law who cooked it, and your nieces who fill the whole day with smiles.  Give thanks that you are off work, with family, in warm house with a table full of food.  Stop balancing your caloric checkbook and enjoy the moment.  Then the next day, get back on your plan and hit it hard at the gym to make progress towards becoming a better person.

Stop Earning It.

Just.....


Own It.  



-Kelsey

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What Are You Voting For?



In case you missed all the mailers, calls, and yard signs, election day has come and gone.

Did you vote?  I did.  I even have the super cool sticker to prove it.

I love the fact that I get to vote.  But even so, watching another round of campaigns has me thinking...

Do you sometimes feel like the act of voting creates disengaged citizens?  


Hear me out on this.  

When I vote, I contribute to the democratic machine.  If something goes wrong, it’s not my fault because I cast my ballot for a minuscule percentage of the population to own my well-being.  And when things get messed up, it’s their fault.  Not mine. 

Does this line of thinking sound familiar?  I don’t want to admit it, but I’ve thought it and I would bet you have too.  It's embarrassing because the democratic machine only operates optimally when citizens regularly engage, not just once every one, two, or four years.

So here's my question.

Does this sound like something you've done with your health? 


I think if we’re being honest, the answer is yes.  

At some point, we have relied on a pill to regulate blood sugar or manage inflammation.  We put our health into the hands of food marketers and fry cooks for the sake of time.  We drank countless diet drinks, slim down shakes, or protein sugar bombs in the name of getting skinny. 

Inevitably, it’s “leaked” that those things are all bad for us.  And we get angry.  We get angry at Big Pharma.  We get angry at the food industry.  We get angry at lobbyists, CEOs, and politicians lining their pockets. 

But don’t you think we should take some of the blame? 



Make no mistake, I am not making excuses for these folks.  I think the current state of our food system is appalling and the groups listed above are a big cause. 

I’m all for calling them to the carpet to take responsibility.  But even more so, I am for personal responsibility. 

Any time we give up control and rely on a product or service we do not or cannot source, we are essentially releasing liability for our own well being. 

I recognize we don’t all have the ability to raise chickens or cultivate an organic veggie farm in our backyard.  I've shared my thoughts in the past on how to be good at being local, but don't get overwhelmed.  You most likely know your biggest opportunity for taking your health into your own hands.  It could be cooking more of your own meals, buying some more organic fare, or cutting out sugary drinks.  

If everyone makes small changes, the food industry will respond.  Change doesn't have to be drastic.  Progress. even when slow, is still progress.  

Let’s pick up our forks, our favorite recipe, and carve out some time in the kitchen.  Don’t worry about who else is doing what.  Forget about miracle products and shortcuts.  We all know that the places worth being are the hardest to get to. 

Cheers-

Kelsey



Friday, October 17, 2014

Being Perfectly Paleo in the Zombie Apocalypse

Warning- if you're not caught up on the Walking Dead, there is a Season 5 Spoiler below.
It's that time of year again.  The Walking Dead premiered last weekend, Halloween is right around the corner, and I have a hankering to watch Zombieland.

Things like this get me thinking.  Would I be able to survive the Zombie Apocalypse and maintain a real food, Paleo lifestyle?  In my head, the answer would obviously be yes.

Ok, but seriously.

.... if the Zombie Apocalypse happened tomorrow, how long would any of us survive?  The sad truth is that based on our own survival skills and knowledge of how to forage for our own food, most of us would not last long.

Let's look at the most likely scenario:

The Zombie apocalypse takes over and suddenly the grocery stores and fast food chains are shut down.  Because from what I hear, Zombies are really inefficient workers.

So you turn to your pantry.... how much do you have that does not require a stove, running water, or a microwave to cook?  I would guess that most of us do not have much.  Maybe a few packets of tuna fish and some granola bars.

So after you've raided your neighbors houses and maybe even sacrificed the family pet, what next?  The next logical step would be to hunt and forage.  But do you know what to look for or how to set a snare?

Here's the issue....  unless you are one of the lucky few to find Daryl Dixon or Tallahassee to cover your six, you probably won't make it past the first thirty days.  Much less be perfectly Paleo.

And as a survivor, it would be to my advantage to be ok with that.  But I'm not about that.

Read this.  Think about it.  And may, just maybe, I'll let you join my team when the undead come for us.

Staying Perfectly Paleo in the Zombie Apocalypse


Let Go of Perfectionism


First and foremost, surviving in the post apocalyptic world is not the time to be concerned about that piece of bread going to your hips.  You're going to cheat.  Get over it and move on (seriously, move quickly).


Fat Adaption


Do you get hangry if you don't eat every 3 hours?  Could you fast for 12 hours and still be able to function?  If the thought of this blows your mind, you are probably not fat adapted.  Meaning that your body does not know how to use stored fat as fuel and relies primarily on consumed carbohydrates

This is pretty common in our modern, processed food infected society.  Becoming fat adapted can be achieved by following a low carb, high fat diet.  Luckily, you can start making this change today in preparation.

It would certainly be tragic to be found by a horde of walkers because your stomach is growling or you're having a mega meltdown.


5 Paleo Approved Food Items to look for When Looting


I'm not going to tell you to walk by the Doritos's display because there are made with GMO ingredients.  Indulge if you feel like you need to.  But remember- the amount you can carry and your time are both limited.  Don't waste either.  

You want to look for things that can be stored at room temperature, don't need heating to prepare, and can be easily transported.  
  1. Coconut Oil- Ounce for ounce, this would be the most valuable item in the store for me.  It's calorically dense and great for building the immune system.  But most notably, the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil support endurance performance and prevents muscle breakdown.  So the short of it- I'll be able to take a sledgehammer to the masses without being quickly fatigued. 
  2. Almond Butter- Similar to coconut oil, this is a good source of sustained energy and is calorie dense.  You could also grab some whole almonds to munch on while you're on the move.
  3. Canned Sardines- I know.  Gross, right?  But besides being a good protein source, they are chocked full of nutrients.  You're also getting the benefit of eating nose to tail, which is by far the best way to incorporate as many usable nutrients as possible into your body.  If this totally grosses you out, you can hunt down some tuna packets.  But if we're being efficient here, you're better off with the sardines.
  4. Dried Meat- Also known as beef jerky.  Full of satisfying protein and easy to carry, it's a treasure.  The problem with beef jerky is that it will probably be one of the first items to be looted (who doesn't love a Slim Jim).  But let me give you a hint- don't forget the pet section.  I buy my dogs beef jerky all the time and just got them some exquisite dried beef lung yesterday.  In fact, I would argue that a holistic pet store would be one of the best places to loot in the apocalypse- it would almost assuredly be fully stocked with unlimited potential.
  5. Coconut Milk- Again, it's calorie dense and will help maintain sustained energy.  It's also a good source of hydration, especially since all the water will probably have been looted.  Just don't forget to grab a can opener or two.
Forget the Twinkies.  Forget the massive cans of pudding.  Go for the stuff that will travel well and more importantly, give you sustained energy.

Learn to Hunt and Gather


Eventually, all the stores will have been looted or be too overrun with the undead to be worth the energy.  This is where your inner Bear Grylls will need to flourish.

Admittedly, this is an area where I'm super weak.  I know how to hunt Morels and I'm willing to eat dandelion leaves.  

But I would say that foraging for plant foods will be a waste of energy.  Go for the big win- hunting wild game.

The meat and fat from most wild game will go much further in keeping you alive and thriving.  You'll of course need to learn how to butcher and either dry the meat or make a fire to cook the meat.

Either way, I'm not the expert in any of this (although that's become my new project).  But these skills will eventually mean the difference between life and death.


And then there's Terminus....


Ok.  I know we were all grossed out by antics of the Terminus crew in the Walking Dead.  But the truth is, there is evidence that cannibalism was a fairly common practice early in our human history.  During periods of famine, the weak and useless where used to benefit the entire group.  If that's not motivation to be a contributing member of your Zombie fighting tribe, I don't know what is.

But seriously.  Have you ever been truly starving?  Or had your entire world constantly threatened?

I'm not saying I would indulge...  I'm just saying that you would want me on your team.

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So, what are you plans to stay perfectly Paleo when the dead rise?

Cheers!

-Kelsey


Monday, October 6, 2014

Better at 30

Yesterday I did something most women (or people for that matter) dread.

I turned the Big 3-0.

(Don't worry, if you haven't visited Facebook and wished me my obligatory "Happy Birthday" yet, you still have time.)

I've had a sordid relationship with 30 for quite some time.  I stopped counting my age after I turned 25.  Just anniversaries of my 25th birthday.

A year and a half ago, my dear friend Julie told me that being in your 30's was way better than being in your 20's.  I told her that sounded like something someone in their 30's would say.

And then I was told by someone else (probably Pinterest) that 30 is the new 20.  Um, What?

But why?  


Why are we so consumed with the impending turnover of the calendar?  Why is age now met with Botox and a boob job?  Why is it that we are so bent on robbing ourselves of the journey?

Because aging is, quite frankly, ugly.  We live in a society where we have the blessing of modern medicine paired with incredibly easy lives.  Because of these benefits, aging is associated with wrinkles, medication, lack of mobility, long term care, and eventually, relying on a machine to keep us alive.

But what if it didn't have to be that way?  Why can't we enjoy the journey?  Why can't we embrace health and vitality into old age?

Listen, I was a hot mess at 20.  I would never want to go back (I spent the first few years fanning a one woman dumpster fire).  But it was fun.  I was young and felt invincible.

But I'm not ready to acquiesce that my best years are behind me.  Or I somehow have peaked.  Or I need to employ pharmaceutical help to age gracefully.

Better at 30


First of all, I'm super pumped to lay it out in the gym.  While it seems that explosive power may peak in most people's 20's, a search of the inter-webs indicates that absolute strength can peak into the 40's.  So basically that means that I have at least a decade of backsquat PRs in front of me!

And guess what- I've noticed I'm starting to getting laugh lines and crows feat.  A few years ago, I was appalled at this thought.  But what a blessed life I've lead that permanent proof of happiness is stamped on my face.  A few days ago, I was speaking with a long time friend talk and noticed her face was starting to show her age... and thought "Wow, she is beautiful."  Why do allow the world to force us to inject adequacy into our bodies?

I've also been learning to love deeper and more thoroughly.  Every year, my husband and I continue to forge a deeper respect for each other.  My nieces and nephews are growing like weeds and time just won't slow down.  And with each passing minute, I am more and more aware that 4 hours of interstate separates me from those who raised me.

I'm grateful I turned 30.  Not because I have some health nut agenda to prove.  It's because I think we all have a unique journey ahead of us.  I want to continue to find my authenticity.  I am excited to spiritually and physically grow stronger.  I want to vigorously unwrap this gift called life.  

I'm not perfect... I won't ever be.  But I'm better now than I was a year ago, and certainly better than I was 10 years ago.

From now on, I'm going to stop chasing perfect and start chasing BETTER.

I can't wait to see where it takes me.



Cheers-

Kelsey

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why I (quite frankly) don't care about Annie's being sold to General Mills

A couple weeks ago, maybe the worst thing to ever happen to organic consumers went down....

Annie's Homegrown was sold to the food giant General Mills.

You know Annie's.... that cute little Organic Bunny in the Mac and Cheese aisle.

You know General Mills... arguably one of the top ten food companies, makes sugary and addictive cereals, and unabashedly uses GMOs in their products.

Just as quickly as this news came out, the outcries from the general population started.  If you scroll through Annie's Facebook page, you can see comments of "disappointment", "selling-out", "disgust","shame", "crossing the line", and "COMMENTS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS."

Whoa people, whoa.  

The reason for the outcry is because General Mills is rumored to have spent close to $1.8 million to prevent GMO labeling in the last few years.  Annie's has spoken out in favor of GMO labeling and contributed $60,000 to help the cause.

I am the last person you will see lining up to defend Big Food.  But I think we should all be looking at this move as a good sign.

There is a trend.


General Mills is not stupid.  There is a grassroots movement gaining steam in this country that is demanding organic, non-GMO options.  In fact, sales of organic foods more than doubled from 2004 to 2012, from $11 billion to $27 billion and is expected to grow 14% between 2013 and 2018.

Of course General Mills bought Annie's.  GM has been around the block and is not inept at identifying a great business opportunity.  I doubt they would buy a company that was not a threat or had no income potential.

GM could also be hedging their bets in case GMO labeling is approved in the near future- they now own a ready made, GMO free trailblazer.

And in Annie's defense, this may be an opportunity to increase their market share, to play with the big boys, and in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, "Sit at the Table."

Of course I don't know any of this, I wasn't sitting in the board room.  But in all reality, one of two things will most likely happen.

  1. GM may allow Annie's to continue to thrive and reach a demographic they've had trouble reaching in the past.  
  2. They will use the sale to stifle the GMO labeling momentum that Annie's has helped create.


Either way........

I just don't care.


I don't care because this does not impact my life.  It does not impact the way I grocery shop.  And it certainly does not impact my ability to lead a healthy life.  My shelves are not stacked with boxed, organically labeled food.

Annie's is great for an occasional treat, but it my opinion, it should not be a staple of your diet.  And here is why:
  1. Organic can be a farce.  Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but let's look at what the label actually means:
    • For processed foods, an organic label means that no less than 95% of ingredients are organic quality (but it may contain sugars and oils that are damaging to your health).  
    • For meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, the animals were given no antibiotics or growth hormones (but still may have been kept in confined, inhumane spaces and fed a diet that does not in any way resemble the natural diet).  
    • For plants, it means they were produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bio-engineering, or ionizing radiation (but may have been shipped halfway across the world, wrecking the environment and decreasing the nutrient content).
  2. Organic foods can still make you fat.  As stated above. just because something is labeled organic, does not mean that it is healthy or even beneficial.  Have you ever walked down the Organic aisle at your local grocers and counted the number of organic cookies?  When did a cookie become a good choice for a healthy diet?  That's a trick question... it didn't.  It is still going to cause a spike in insulin, cause a blood sugar crash, and make you crave more sweets.  Plus, all that sugar will eventually store as fat.  And in the case of Annie's.... let's see: mac and cheese, crackers, cookies, pretzels, and fruit snacks.  All highly processed carbohydrate sources that will wreck your metabolism.
  3. Organic Foods can still have toxic ingredients.  You can farm organic wheat but to a someone with Celiac's or a gluten intolerance, it's pretty toxic.  It's possible to make organic sugar, but sugar is still pretty much toxic to all of us (it's just a slower burn).  And again, since we're talking about Annie's, let's look at their Organic Cowgirl Ranch Dressing.  The first ingredient is Expeller pressed vegetable oil (Canola or Sunflower).  These oils contain high amounts of Omega-6's, are highly inflammatory in the body, and are not shelf stable (meaning they can go rancid very easily).  
I will happily admit- I love me some mac and cheese.  When I have had a hankering and I know it won't impact my goals (ok, sometimes even if it does), I indulge in Annie's Gluten Free Mac and Cheese.  But not under the guise that this processed product was healthy for me.  Under the understanding that this was at least better than some other options.

My point here is that if your world was totally wrecked by the "sell-out" of Annie's, I am calling out an opportunity to look at your buying habits.

  • Instead of relying on a food manufacture to tell you what is in your meal, go hug a local farmer.  
  • Start a garden.  
  • Visit the farmer's market.  
  • Join a CSA.  
  • Buy into a service that delivers directly to your door.  
  • Buy your meat directly from a local, grass-fed operation.  
  • Spend most of your time on the outside aisles of the grocery store.


Eat whole sources of meats, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, oils, and seasonings.  Cook and prep your meals and snacks as much as possible.  Reserve products like Annie's for times when you have a treat.

I don't want this article to come off like I'm ambivalent about our food system.  Trust me, I care deeply.  But when it comes to one highly processed food manufacturer buying another highly processed food manufacturer, I just don't care.

What do you think of this acquisition?  Do you care?  Do you agree or disagree with me?

Cheers!

Kelsey

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Five Principles of Health

Everyone wants a magic pill to make them skinny.  Or a magic protein shake to make them swoll.  Or a magic exercise to firm their butt for bikini season.

Don't misunderstand me, I think there are some great products and workouts available that can help.  But no such pill, shake, or exercise exists.  Although most infomercials would have you believe otherwise, the path to long term sustainable health is usually not found in a bottle.

I'm not here to rain on anyone's parade.  It's just that I get asked this question A LOT:
"Tell me exactly what to eat and when to eat it to get skinny/strong/happy."

Were I less scrupulous, I would have a ready made solution for only $19.99.  But the thing is that the answer isn't sexy, flashy, or gimmicky.  It's nothing that I could ever sell in an infomercial.  And it's not available in a nicely packaged bottle.

The answer is to make long term, sustainable changes in key areas of your life.  Maybe you're the type of person who likes dive in head first and do a total life detox.  Maybe you need to make small changes here and there.  It's up to you, but truly, there is no secret or magic.

After some careful consideration, working with clients, reading every blog/article I come across, and research of scientific literature, I've put together my list- my Five Principles of Health.

I would hypothesize that if you improved all of these areas of your life, you would start to notice a lift in your butt, you belly leaning out, or your muscles getting bigger.  But more importantly, your risk of chronic illnesses would lower, you will live longer, and you would start to enjoy life.

If you chase health and functionality, aesthetics follow.



Eat Real Food Nothing new here, right?  We're all pretty familiar with terms such as real, whole, organic, raw, etc.  But the food industry is very good at capitalizing on nutritional buzzwords- using terms such as "all natural" to fool the consumer into thinking that the product they are eating is a real food.  So let me provide some clarity on what Real Food means to me:
    • Real Food has an expiration date.
    • Real Food usually needs some sort of cooking or prep by the end consumer.
    • Real Food is representative of the source it came from.  Meaning you can usually tell what your food was before it was prepped.
    • Real Food does not need to make the case that it is "all natural" or has "no sugar added."  It just is what it is.

Sleep Well  "I'll sleep when I'm dead."  Have you heard that?  Have you said that?  Well, I have good news for you- the less you sleep, the quicker that day will come.  

Lack of sleep is associated with a host of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, migraines, heat disease, loss of libido, and even premature death.  Most of these issues were found in people who consistently got less than 7 hours of sleep.  Nowadays, 40% of us do not get 7 hours or more, compared to 1942 where 89% of people got over 7 hours of sleep.  So what is so important that you're sacrificing your health?  Certainly not Facebook, Jimmy Fallon, or your relentless boss.  In fact, I would argue that unless you are a new parent, you need to seriously consider the importance of whatever is causing you to sacrifice your sleep.


Move Often  Most of us are sedentary, even if we workout 4 or 5 times a week.  So at best, you may be spending less than 5% of your time being active.  You may have even heard the saying that sitting is the new smoking.

Most, if not all, of us would benefit from decreasing our time spent in a chair.  If you have a dog or a child, you have the perfect opportunity to add regular walks or bike rides.  Park farther away.  Take the stairs.  Buy a pedometer and add 10% more steps per day until you reach 10,000 per day.  These seem simple, but ohmygosh, regular movement will make a difference- for mobility, stress management, and fat loss.

Manage Stress Let's think about all the stress in our lives:

  • The blaring of the alarm
  • Getting everyone out the door in the morning
  • Traffic
  • Your boss 
  • Deadlines
  • Picking the kids up on time
  • Making a healthy dinner
  • Getting to the gym/practice/evening meetings on time
  • Finding time for your significant other
  • Finding time for yourself.  
I'm stressed just thinking of all of this.  Excessive and chronic stress can cause issues similar to what is seen when there is a lack of sleep.  There are multiple natural ways to manage stress, from breathing, to prayer, to meditation, and so on.  I know it's easier said than done, but I think you have to be real with yourself.  If the stress is not beneficial and it is avoidable- pull a Joey Gladstone and Cut. It. Out. (of your life)

Play Every Day  Let me ask you this- how many times do you crawl into bed and you cannot think of one thing you did that day that made you happy?  Maybe never or maybe it's more times than you'd care to admit.  Finding a way to bring joy to your life every day, even in small ways, is critical to health and longevity.  And Play looks different to everyone.  My everyday play activities are usually lifting heavy things, taking my dogs for a walk, cooking, and watching cute goat videos.  But they can be date night with my husband, lunch with a friend, a nap, or even binge watching The Good Wife.  It really doesn't matter what you do as long as you love it.

  

So what happens when you start to dial in these five areas of you life?


Making positive changes in all of these areas will create hormonal changes in your body that will cause long term changes.  Simply stated, increasing quality sleep, moving often, reducing stress, and playing every day will reduce cortisol in your body, which is linked to belly fat and inhibits recovery (the enemy of muscle gain).  Eating real foods will inherently reduce the amount of insulin produced by overly processed carbohydrates- and insulin causes fat storage.

You might be reading this and are skeptical about the effectiveness of my Principles of Health.  That's ok.  And I'll admit, this is way harder than a magic pill, shake, or exercise.  But when is the last time you've found one of those magic solutions worked long term?

So try it out- make one change every week in a different area of your life.  And in five weeks, take a look at your quality of life and report back to me.

There ain't nothin' to do but to do it.  

Cheers-

Kelsey

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Keto Clarity Review (And What the Heck is Ketosis)

One of my favorite things about being in the health and fitness community is that there is no shortage of new theories and concepts to test.

Lately I've been particularly obsessed with a low carbohydrate, high fat approach to this whole foods lifestyle (seriously, check out my Instagram account for picture proof).  The purpose of this protocol is to become fat adapted and get my body to use stored fat for fuel versus dietary sugars.  Done correctly, this can also be known as Nutritional Ketosis.

Nutritional Ketosis is a state where your body produces and burns a superior type of fat called Ketones.  Ketosis can be misunderstood and tricky to achieve, especially in today's carb loving society.  But once there, it can produce a mecca of health benefits.

While the method of getting into Ketosis is simple, a diet consisting of high fat, moderate protein, and very low carb, the troubleshooting and explaining it to your Doctor or BFF is not so much.  So besides spending endless hours combing the internet for accurate information, what is there to do?

Enter Jimmy Moore.  


Jimmy could be any of us.  He has a powerful story- in 2004 he started his health journey at 410 pounds.  Today, he is a healthy, vibrant, and accessible member of this community.

And basically, I want to be Jimmy Moore.  First of all, his southern drawl is pretty much awesome.  Second of all, he makes very complex nutritional issues easy to understand and implement.  Third of all, he busts myths like Bill Murray busts ghosts.

Jimmy's newest gift to the world is Keto Clarity, Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet.

Chandler wants to be able to run faster and jump higher.
Besides losing fat and regulating blood sugar, ketosis has also been found effective in the prevention and/or treatment of many of today's (unfortunately) common illnesses, such as Epilepsy, Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, PCOS, IBS, Alzheimer's, mental illnesses, and sleep disorders.

For those of you with athletic and performance goals, it has been found to enhance athletic performance.  In endurance athletes, reaching nutritional ketosis can create a lasting energy store.  For power athletes, some slight adjustments may be needed, but you can still reap the benefits. 

Keto Clarity is an all in one guide to Nutritional Ketosis:
  • What the heck is Nutritional Ketosis, what are the benefits, and how do I achieve it?
  • Why do my doctors and friends seem convinced I'm out to kill myself?
  • Common Mistakes and FAQs
  • Science (yes, actual real science) to back up the high fat, low carb approach to eating.  
  • A 21 Day Meal Plan and a host of recipes.  And bonus factor, if you turn to page 266 (the best page in the book, in my opinion) you'll find my contributed recipe- Pan Fried Breaded Pork Chops with Sauteed Kale
  • If you aren't a big reader, Jimmy is actually self narrating the audio book, which is super exciting! (Southern drawl, remember?) 
But my favorite thing about the book (besides page 266) is Jimmy's understanding of bio-individuality.  Meaning that what works for you may not work for me and may not work for Jimmy.  So rather than creating one standard prescription for Ketosis, he teaches you how to find your personal tolerance levels.  This method may require you to do a bit more thinking, but it forces you to learn what's best for you.

So I highly recommend you buy it and read it.  And if you like the information, test it to see if it works for you!

Cheers!

-Kelsey

Have you ever tried Nutritional Ketosis?  Do you want to?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Most Important Thing to Love

Hey guys!  Kelsey here!  I'm sooooo excited for the post today- my good friend Alexis has graciously agreed to share her journey with all of you.  Alexis is from Effingham, IL and is a Biological Sciences major with a double minor in Chemistry and Theatre/Dance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  She is on track to graduate in 2016 and plans to go on to dental school.  She loves deadlifts, coffee, musical theater, and Harry Potter.   

I met Alexis about a year ago.  Watching her journey has been nothing short of inspiring.  I do want to call out that this is Alexis's journey using CrossFit as her starting point.  Your journey may start from running, walking, powerlifting, yoga, or even playing with your kids on the beach.  And that is all totally cool!  

Alexis- thanks.  You are beautiful inside and out.  I'm grateful to call you my friend.
_______________________________________________________________________


I’m falling in love... No, not with a man.  Half of the time I’m still in the boys-are-gross camp.  What I’m falling in love with is myself, all thanks to whole-foods and fitness.  Now I know what you’re thinking, isn't twenty years of living a blessed and fun life enough to love yourself?  However, it wasn't enough for me, and it was not until I discovered CrossFit and all that comes with a healthier lifestyle that I truly began loving myself and appreciating my body.

Rewind to about a year ago, when I first stumbled into a CrossFit box for the first time with no prior fitness or nutrition regimen, a very poor body-image, and low self-esteem. I thought I was fat, unattractive, and had no appreciation for my body.  I vividly remember not even being able to run a half-mile in high school, but here I was committing to daily challenging workouts.

My mantra through many of those first workouts ran along the lines of “Don’t you want to be skinnier?”, “Remember what you looked like in a bikini last year.”, “Think of all the tiny girls you go to school with!” and so on.  Honestly, that was not a very fun or successful way to motivate myself to continue working out.  It definitely didn't improve my self-esteem.  Instead of celebrating my body and the many ways it was changing that I was blind to at the time, I was diminishing its worth by comparing it to others’ bodies.  I was taking its' value to be only what I saw in the mirror.

However, great changes were happening that I at first did not appreciate.  Pull-ups stopped being a thing that just the guys could do to something I could do as well.  Squats and deadlifts gave my naturally thick thighs a purpose when I realized these were movements I was not half-bad at.  It was in these things that I found my motivation to exercise and take care of myself.  I started caring less and less about what I looked like standing next to other people and more and more about the things my body could do.  And this was when I started loving myself.  

Because how cool was it that I could climb a fifteen foot rope and run a mile without stopping?  That was me doing those things and so much more.  

Me and my incredible body. 

 A body that through fitness, I finally could love.

I’m still on this journey of loving myself but I know I can accredit fitness and nutrition for what I think of as my biggest success of all: finally seeing my body as beautiful.  Once I started loving my body, I realized how truly beautiful it was.  

We live in a culture where we are constantly bombarded with what the idea of beauty is and constantly.  We are racing out to access products to achieve that standard of beauty.  But that isn't real beauty.  I believe beauty is a very personal and individualized thing that manifests itself uniquely in every person.  

I can’t hold myself up to a standard of beauty, because no other individual is like me and has my body.  My idea of beauty probably looks very different than some of yours, but here is why I believe I am beautiful....

My body is beautiful because it is strong, it can handle heavy weights, do handstands, pullups, one-legged squats, and so many other awesome things. My body is beautiful because it can rock a pair of jeans, because fitness and nutrition have give my body beautiful curves that I can show-off with pride. My body is beautiful because it has muscle, can carry me through any tough task, and because it never quits on me. 

My body is beautiful because I finally love it. 

-Alexis

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Most Dangerous Food You're Probably Eating

Ok, sorry if I'm being dramatic.  Nothing irritates me more that fear mongering in the health and fitness industry.  It is dangerous, irresponsible, and the tactic that spun me into vegetarianism leaving me sick, tired, and metabolically damaged after 3 years.

Let's be honest here.  There are foods that we should be eating every day, foods that we should mostly avoid, and foods that can really only be rationalized on a very special occasion.  And of course, we all have our own personal poisons that we should never touch.

But there is one food, in my opinion, that brings no value to anyone.  Ever.  So I'm going to break my own rules on this one.  

Spoiler alert... it's not Gluten.  Although I think that's plenty nasty,  I still think this food is worse.  PS- have you seen the Gluten Free Duck video??  Hilarious. Don't be that Duck.

This food is highly processed, can have a devastating impact on your hormonal system, is very difficult to source, and is claimed to be a health food.  Now we can say this about a lot of foods,but what makes it so dangerous is that it's in everything.  Seriously- it's everywhere.  It's probably creeping up behind you right now.... (made you look).  

Are you ready?

Soy.  


What?  But soy is so good for you.  That's what Tofu is made out of.  I'm obsessed with Soy milk!  And what the heck would I put on my Chinese food?  

Sorry to be the one to break the news, but this former super food is quickly falling from grace.  Let's look at the evidence against it:

  • According to Chris Kresser, studies have linked soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, immune system breakdowns, low sperm counts, and even heart disease and cancer.
  • Soy isoflavones (estrogen), while said to be healthy for women, can actually prevent ovulation and cause cancer cells to develop.
  • Soy is highly processed. Modern processing methods make soy from the waste of soybean oil.  So it's easy and cheap to make, meaning it makes a great filler. 
  • Soy in baby formula is linked to early puberty, an increased risk of infertility, and cancer later in life in females.  For males, an increased risk for a delay or retardation of the development of sex organs.  A study from New Zealand found that the hormones in soy baby formula is equivalent to 5 birth control pills per day.  And guess what- 30%-40% of all babies in the US drink formula with soy in it. 
  • It is estimated that 90% of all soy sold in the US is genetically modified and Round-Up ready, increasing chemical run off around the world.  Soybeans can also be farmed using monocropping, which is a contributor to soil erosion and the loss of biodiversity.
  • Soy is an anti-nutrient, meaning it keeps the body from absorbing nutrients. It specifically depletes Vitamins B12 and Vitamin D.

So how did soy become America's new favorite health food?  Well, remember that it's cheap to make.  So the food industry has a big incentive to get it added to as many products as possible....  38 billion reasons to be exact.  

The food industry has also used the long lifespan of Asians countries and their consumption of soy as proof that the stuff is healthy.  But truthfully, traditional Asian cultures ate fermented soy, which decreased many of the toxic properties.  Additionally, soy only accounted for less than 1.5% of daily calories.  

So contrary to popular belief, soy is just not that good for you.  But so what?  Neither are Oreo's, pizza, or soda.  Well, I can tell you definitively when I am eating any of those.  And furthermore, I can tell you definitively that I'm eating a soy burger or Tofurky.  But what happens if you don't know that you're consuming soy?

The biggest danger of soy is that it's added to 70% of processed food products (remember- cheap).  It's commonly found in canned tuna, soup, protein powders, pizza, bread, bread crumbs, imitation crab meat, bacon bits, chewing gum, cosmetics and even CHOCOLATE.  Soy is also an additive in over the counter and prescription drugs and vitamins.  

And soy isn't always called soy.  Common names for soy as an ingredient can include:
  • Artificial flavoring
  • Natural flavoring 
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Textured plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Vegetable oil
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Lecithin
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Vegetable Gum
  • Vegetable Starch

Is an occasional small amount of soy going to cause significant health problems?  Unless you have an allergy, probably not.  Where we run into problems is repeated amounts of soy masquerading as health food and safe fillers. 

So what to do?

Eat fresh meat, fish, veggies, and fruit.  When you do have to venture into the processed section of the grocery store for your olive oil, nuts, and coconut milk, read the labels.  Get the unflavored version of everything you can.

Do the best you can with what you have!  If you keep it whole and minimally processed, you'll not just avoid the soy, but most of the other nasty fillers as well.

Is this all news to you, or have you been avoiding soy all along?  Share your experience in the comments!

Cheers!

Kelsey

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What's Wrong with Processed Sports Drinks (and Recipe for a Real Food Alternative!)

As we're approaching the height of the summer heat and humidity, over-exertion and dehydration tend to appear.  If you have performance goals, work outside, or have kids that are constantly on the go, maintaining that intensity without the risk of injury or overheating can be tricky.

For this, the food industry tells us that sports drinks are they way to keep ourselves hydrated and safe.

But wait a minute, is there something wrong with Gatorade, Powerade, or any of the other sports drinks that promise superior nutrition conveniently out of a vending machine?  According this this Deadspin article, a lot (<-- Warning, it's a great article, but there is some swearing).  It calls to question the entire notion of dehydration, electrolytes, and cramping.  

I don't think that replenishing electrolytes and carbohydrates (salt and sugar, by the way) is a bad thing.  In fact, feeding your body some glucose (sugar) immediately following physical exertion can help your body start to repair damaged tissues.  The only caveat here is if you have fat loss goals, it could be detrimental to your goals.  But more on that another time.    

What I'm more concerned about is the ingredient list.  Let's break down common ingredients found on one of these labels:

Water- This is good.  Drink enough of this in general.

Sugar-  Pretty straight forward.  This is what will help you replenish your glucose stores, as mentioned above.

Dextrose- This is the name given to sugar produced from corn.  Reading between the lines here- High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Despite the marketing efforts by the Corn Industry, there are plenty of reasons why you do not want to ingest this.

Citric Acid- For the purposes of manufacturing a sports drink, it is fermented sugar to use as a flavoring agent.

Natural Flavor-  This is a gnarly one.  A search on the inter-webs will send you down a rabbit hole that this can be a chemical that resembles perfume, MSG, Aspartame, or even bugs.  The official FDA definition is published in the Code of Federal Regulations (21CFR101.22).  Basically the label "Natural Food" means the flavoring can be derived, distilled, or extracted from either plants or animal matter directly or via roasting, heating or fermenting.  There is no direction on the quality of the source of the flavoring- factory farmed cows and genetically modified soy beans are fair game.  Point being that this a very vague food label that is not highly regulated.

Sodium Citrate-  This is a common food additive for flavor and preservatives, but in it's most basic form, it's salt.

Monopotassium Phosphate- This is water soluble salt, and a source of phosphorus and potassium.  My thought would be that this is where the electrolytes in sports drinks come from.

Modified Food Starch-  This is an ingredient that will aid in attaining the desired texture or gel of the food.  The nutritional value of this food is a wash, but you should note that unless otherwise stated on the labeling this can be made from corn or wheat from varying quality sources.  So if you have an allergy to gluten or are trying to avoid GMO sources, avoiding Modified Food Starch would be a good first step.

Glycerol ester of Rosin-  This is another ingredient that aids in mix and texture.  It's pretty common in fruit juices to keep oils and water from separating.  Officially there are no heath risks associated with this and it is the "best and most natural option for achieving stability in beverages," however it is advised that pregnant women consult their doctors prior to consuming beverages with Glycerol Ester of Rosin (ummm... what?).


In a nutshell, manufactured sports drinks are chocked full of artificial, man-made, unclear, borderline panic inducing ingredients.  

So what to do?


Well, first of all, good ol' fashion water will probably suffice most of the time.  If you're concerned about electrolyte loss, you can add a pinch of salt.  Only after incredibly intense workouts or spending time laboring in the heat and sun should the need for an electrolyte and glucose hit be necessary.

If you do feel you need a sports drink.... Enter the glorious coconut.  Coconut products have taken the US by storm over the past several years, from milk, to flakes, to oil, and for our purposes today... coconut water.

Think of coconut water as nature's own miracle sports drink.  It has all the essentials without the man made ingredients, such as good sugars, sodium, potassium (more than 4 bananas per serving), and electrolytes.  As a bonus, it has dietary fiber, enzymes, vitamin C, and amino acids.

Now, for those of you who have tasted coconut water, you might cringe at the thought of using it.  No doubt- it is an acquired taste.  So how do we make one of nature's most optimal foods better suited for consumption?

Do what the food industry does- add sugar!  But in our case, we're going to add a natural source of sugar (and other vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers).  In other words, we're going to add fruit.

Wholly Made Sports Drink




Ingredients: 

1 Cup Coconut Water
1 Cup Water/Ice
1/4 Cup Strawberries and Pineapple (Mango, Bananas, or any tropic fruit work great)
Blender or Muddle Tool
Shaker





1. Muddle or blend the fruit fruit.  I prefer to muddle only enough to get some of the juices out, because I like the chunks of fruit during or after a workout.  If you don't think you'll like the fruit as chunky, then just pop it in the blender to get it to your desired consistency.


2.  Add that fruit, coconut water, and water/ice to your shaker (you can mess with the coconut/water/ice ratio depending on how palatable you find the coconut water).

If you're going to be enjoying this immediately, then you probably don't need ice.  If you're going to take this with you to the gym or the soccer field, adding some ice will help keep it cool until consumed.




3. Shake it up!


4.  Leave it in the shaker and take it with you.  Or pour and enjoy immediately.





A few notes on this:
  -  You can make it ahead of time, but it will only keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days before it starts to get questionable.
  -  You'll find this is slightly less convenient than a manufactured sports drink.  But in my opinion, it's well worth it.
  -  Experiment with this!  Have fun, test and learn on yourself, and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

-Kelsey

Friday, June 27, 2014

5 Things I Learned from Corporate America

Today is the day....  the day I say goodbye to my cubicle and the florescent lights (and the toxic dump next door).  I'm doin' this career thing on my own now. 

I am so excited to take this step, but in my haste I've forgotten that I've spent nearly the last decade of my life growing into new and exciting roles.  I think often when we're so focused on what's ahead of us, we forget how valuable the thing is that we're leaving behind. 

So I've put together five life lessons I've learned from living in the corporate world.  There are many, many more than this, but in the interest of time (hey, I'm self employed now), I'm keeping it to just five. 


1. Always Lead With Data- Listen, we all love the warm and fuzzies of 'listening to our hearts' or 'trusting our instincts' but when it comes to real life decisions that impact not just you personally, but hundreds or even thousands of other people, you have to do the research.  And don't do shotty research.  You may get away with it once or twice, but not forever.  The data might not be easy to get, but figure it out.  You simply cannot impact the bottom line without having the facts to back it up.

2. Don't Forget to Trust Your Gut-  Data is incredibly important, but you cannot rely solely on what the data is telling you.  Apply your knowledge or life experience.  And if you don't have that knowledge, find someone who does.  Just as making decisions with no data can wreak havoc, making decisions based on data alone can be just as detrimental.  The best leaders I've had the fortune to work with always make decisions using a combination of facts and their own experience.

3. Never Assume You are the Smartest Person in the Room-  Trust me on this one, I've learned the hard way.  First of all, if you assume you are the smartest person in the room, you are obviously wrong.  And second, if you make the mistake of thinking you are the smartest person in the room, you are tempting fate that you will fall flat on your face in front of everyone (literally or figuratively... I've done both). 
Listen- there is nothing wrong with being a subject matter expert in any field, but the knowledge of one does not stand alone.  If you want to be successful and change your world, you will need to learn how to use the power of collaboration.

4. Figure Out How to use Your Resources- As I stated above, you cannot know everything.  The good news is that we live in a world where access to infinite knowledge is literally at our finger tips.  If you have a question, figure it out using your resources.  Do not rely on other people to take time out of their busy days to help you. 
Let me explain: at my (now former) job, I was regarded as somewhat of an excel expert.  Not because I took classes or have some innate ability to understand rows, columns, and cells.  It's because I learned to harness the power of Google.  For awhile, it was fairly common for people to ask me a question that could be easily answered online.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy to help.  But you can bet if it came down to an interview, I would have some thoughts about that person's ability to get a job done.
One of the best managers I've ever had used to tell me to "Go figure it out" all the time.  It was uncomfortable and frustrating.  But I learned that the best, most transferable skill that you can ever develop is the ability to use your resources and get things done. 

5. Learn to Love Your Co-Workers- ....they are, after all, your family.  Or at least sometimes it seems like it.  There have been times in the past several years where I saw my team more than I saw my husband. 
When I first entered the work force, I thought it was weird to see people hanging out after work or getting together on the weekends. 'You see these people all day, why would you want to see them when you're not at work.'  But eventually, it clicked. 
These people are not just the people that you race out of the parking lot or compete with for a raise.  You are DOING LIFE with them.  They will be your walking partner, your interior design consultant, your relationship therapist, your personal comedian, your encouragement for eating well (or poorly), your personal shopper, your lighthouse in the storm....  and your best friend.  Like anything in life, you will get out what you put in.  Invest in these people and it will pay dividends.

So that's it...  And this is it: 

To my corporate friends and mentors....  Thanks for the memories.  It's not farewell, just see you later.

Cheers-

Kelsey 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Real Food Burger Bun Recipe and Updates




It has been a crazy few weeks!  In an awesome way, of course, but a lot has happened!  So I wanted to give you a 'Kelsey's life' update and then share an AWESOME recipe just in time for your 4th of July Backyard BBQ.

So here we go:
  • I became a Quitter.  At the beginning of this month, I turned in my notice to my Corporate job so I can focus on Health Coaching full time.  I am so excited, nervous, scared, pumped, anxious, etc.  But mostly excited!  This means that I'm going to have more time to dedicate to my current clients, open my availability for new clients, and create awesome and relevant content more regularly.  Speaking of content....
  • I started an e-Newsletter.  So sign up to get weekly access to exclusive content, recipes, articles, events, etc.  I know what you're thinking: "Between Groupon, the Prince of Nigeria, and all the cat pictures I get from Great Aunt Sally, there is no more room in my inbox."  Or "I already follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  What do you possibly have to add to those?"  Well, I love Social Media, but I have no control over whether or not my posts show up on your news feed so you could be missing a lot of great information.  Even if you've followed by blog through Blogger, this is different.  But due to anti-spam laws I cannot sign you up!  Plus I promise my newsletter will be more relevant than those cat pictures!  Speaking of relevant...
  • I'm officially a Certified Health Coach.  I finished and passed my final exam from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and am accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  This has been an incredibly enlightening and amazing journey, but it does not stop here.  I plan to continue to grow and learn every day, attend seminars and workshops, and attain designations.  
So I think that about sums it up for now... but stay tuned because there is more to come!

Low Carb, Real Food, Super Delish Burger Bun

  If you are gluten free, low carb, or just avoid bread, you know this time of year can be depressing.  You are usually the one left to munch on your slab of meat between two pieces of lettuce, or worse, cutting it up with a knife and fork.  

(Sad trombone.)

  So here we go.  A bun made with just 5 ingredients and that looks and tastes pretty darn close to a normal bun.  Plus it only takes 20 minutes to make.  10 cool points for me, right?  

  You can make this in advance and it will store for several days in the fridge.  Just make sure you take it out in enough time to come to room temperature.

  The recipe makes 1/2 of a bun.  So if you want to make enough for one burger, double it.  If you want to make enough for 2 burgers, make 4.  And so on...


Ingredients: 



1 Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Cacao Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of salt



Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a small, oven safe bowl with coconut oil.  I used my Pyrex custard cups.  If you do not have a dish that you feel comfortable using in the oven, there is a microwave option listed below.  

Add all the ingredients to the bowl.


Whisk ingredients together until there are minimal to no lumps (some lumps are ok, but not a ton).

Put the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, or until mixture is firm.  The bun will be light brown in color.  You can microwave it, if you prefer, for 90 seconds


Allow the bun to cool.  Use a knife and scrape between the egg and the dish and gently pop the bun out.

Create a majestic burger to make all other burgers jealous.  

And voila!  All your burger problems solved!  



Cheers!

Kelsey

Monday, June 2, 2014

10 Nourishing Snack Ideas for Road Trips

Fact:
Summer.  Is.  Awesome.  

Backyard BBQs, swimming, fireworks, vacations, longer nights, and waking up to the sunrise instead of the alarm!

And what's summer without a road trip or two (or three or four)?  It's fun to drive through small towns, stop at antique stores, explore new cities, pull over to take pictures of beautiful scenery, etc, etc, etc.

Heading into Hobart, Tasmania on the BEST ROAD TRIP EVER.


What's not to love about road trips???

Well....  how about the inexplicable regression to eating garbage fast food and gas station fare?

Seriously.  This is a big deal.  Nothing will ruin a scenic view or a game of I Spy quicker than gastrointestinal distress from a bucket of fried chicken or gas station hot dog.

As fate may have it, I've recently had several converastions on this very topic.  People just want to know what the heck to eat on a road trip!


Snacks

My recommendation is to pack your own cooler with snacks.  If you see an awesome little restaurant that looks quaint and/or hipster- get on it!  Otherwise, don't waste a cheat meal on a deep fried whatever's convient.

To qualify as a good road trip snack, the food must be able to survive in a cooler in the back of a car for a few days (sorry, Ice Cream is out).  It also has to be relatively low mess and non sticky.  That can limit the options, but it's not impossible.  Here is my list of 10 road trip compatible foods that won't derail your goals or your wallet.   


  1. Beef Jerky.  If you can make your own, awesome.  If not, I recommend Steve's Paleo Kits- pre-packaged meals/snacks that are from ethically source animals and proceeds benefit an awesome cause!
  2. Holy Guacamole.  These suckers are awesome.  The ingredients are legit, they're not messy, and they come in individual packets.  You can bring chopped veggies or organic tortilla chips for dipping.  I love to dip my beef jerky in them.  Mmmmmm...
  3. Hard Boiled Eggs.  These will last in a cooler and pack a perfect punch of protein and fat.  You can also pre-peel them so you don't have to deal with the pesky egg shells in the car.
  4. Kale Chips.  Kale is a nutrient powerhouse and Kale chips are delish. You can make them yourself or most grocery stores are carrying them these days.  Just watch the labels for any gnarly ingredients.  If you're buying, I recommend Brad's Raw Kale Chips.
  5. Nuts.  Any kind that suits your fancy.  Just be careful with over consuming- one handful goes a long way!
  6. Grapes.  You can really chop any type of fruit that you want, but I always feel like my fingers get really sticky really quickly with most chopped fruit.
  7. Mini Sweet Peppers.  I eat these like candy- they are sweet and crunchy. Eat 'em on their own or with some Holy Guacamole! 
  8. Dark Chocolate.  I mean, it's vacation, right??  This might satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you from pulling over to get an over sized shake (and fries to dip in it- am I right??).
  9. Water.  This is super important, especially if you're wanting to hit the ground running or are trying to recover from too much sun.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and avoid coffee and soda at all costs. 
  10. Justin's Butter Nut Packets.  You can cut the corner of these handy little packets and eat them straight, or pair them with your dark chocolate!  

Restuarants

If you want to escape the confines of the car, are in a bind, or maybe get more than four feet from your family, use a "better than" strategy when selecting fast food.  Find someplace that serves a good salad- Subway, Panera, and Wendy's are good options!  Most fast food restaurants will serve bun-less burgers and many will allow you to sub a side salad for french fries  These places may not be ideal, but they are better than the alternative.

And finally,

Remember that it's vacation.  It's important to nourish your body, but don't be afraid to enjoy the local food.  If it's kangaroo in the Outback or your weight in Seafood on the Gulf Shores, culinary exploration is one of the funnest ways to experience life.  And no matter where you're heading this summer, be healthy, safe, and happy!


-Kelsey




What are your "Go To" road trip snacks?  Share them in the comments below!!