Exercise Smarter, Not Longer

31 Dec

As we head into the new year, many will be making resolutions in regards to fitness and exercise. This is great to see, but I also wanted to point out that just like one can be too lazy, one can be too active as well. The truth is, spending tons of time on a cardio machine is going to do nothing but put unwanted stress on your body. Furthermore, it actually isn’t that hard to make positive changes in your body by doing very little! You just have to know what you’re doing.  If it were up to me, one’s fitness regimen would include three main components:

1) strength training with challenging weights

2) high intensity interval training (HIIT)

3) REST!

If you like another type of fitness, it can have it’s place, too. I like to do other things to stay active, like an occasional kickboxing or dance class, but I try to put my focus on these things the most. I really hate to see people spending too much time workout out. My “cardio days” are HIIT and last around 10-20 minutes max. My strength days may or may not take a little longer, but they include plenty of rest between sets, and still I’m usually done in 45 minutes or less. The point is to maximize the time you have and then be done. Don’t let it take up your whole day, because 1) ain’t nobody got time for that! and 2) all you’re really doing is putting your body in a state of stress. You are hurting your adrenals…[pause for a little anatomy and physiology lesson]

Adrenal glands produce hormones in the body that regulate blood sugar and provide us with energy. But being constantly under stress (i.e. through too much exercise for example) can take a toll on your adrenal glands and they will stop producing the necessary hormones that keep your body running with optimal energy.

“When the adrenal glands are not functionining optimally, you can have a condition that is known as adrenal fatigue, or adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal fatigue often develops after periods of intense or lengthy physical or emotional stress, when overstimulation of the glands leave them unable to meet your body’s needs.” (source)

symptoms that your body is under too much stress and your adrenal glands are suffering include:

  • excessive fatigue and exhaustion
  • feeling rundown or overwhelmed
  • difficulty sleeping
  • feeling of not being restored after a full night’s sleep
  • food allergies/struggle with digestion
  • extreme sensitivity to cold

If you think your body needs some rest, then by all means GIVE IT REST! The other day I read a status saying something along the lines of, “My first rest day in two weeks!”  Sorry, but I’m just not envious of that, nor do I think it is healthy. I’ll stick with my short-but-intense workouts a few times a week and feel refreshed, energized, and happy because I’m taking care of my body and not adding unnecessary stress in an already stressful world; I’ve got plenty of that coming from other things, am I right?!

To those looking to say, gain or lose weight, I believe the most success will come to those who focus firstly on the diet and nutrition aspects of things. After all, how you look (and feel!) is determined by 80% nutrition, 10% fitness and 10% genetics. Ever heard the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” ? Someone had it right! This doesn’t mean restrict calories as low as possible, but instead to make healthful choices and put real, whole foods into your body.

My goal is not to scare people away from exercising, but rather to provide a bit of a warning to make sure you are doing it in a healthy way that will BENEFIT you instead of HARM you.

In case anyone wants to start their New Years off with one of my favorite forms of interval training, Tabatas, then here is a tabata workout filmed by my beautiful friend Gina, better known as The Fitnessista! This was my workout yesterday! Tabatas only take 4 (intense) minutes to complete and I did the routine twice, making my total workout time 8 minutes for the day. Perfect!

Fitnessista’s 4 Minute Tabata Video:

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

P.S. follow my daily happenings over on Instagram!



A New Take on Protein Powder

27 Dec

I used to be a big protein powder junky but ever since my battle with internal infections and the need for some proper gut healing, I needed to make a change and part ways with my old friend. There are a few problems I have with most protein powders on the market today.

1) many protein powders are very heavily processed, to the point where it is nowhere near it’s natural form. The body will see something like this as a foreign substance–not a real food–and likely have difficulty digesting it.

2) many protein powders are based off of low quality whey, i.e. DAIRY, which a large part of the population has a difficult time digesting.

3) many protein powders contain soy, which is linked to countless negative health effects and hormonal disruption.

4) many protein powders are filled with “extras” like artificial colors, dyes, and sweeteners. Again, these are foreign objects that the body will not recognize as real food.

I do not think that ALL proteins are bad. I do not think all dairy is bad either; in fact, I think raw grass fed dairy from a local farm can be a source of great nutrition. The problem with dairy is that many people, whether they know it or not, have damaged guts and dairy (ESPECIALLY regular, commercially bought) can just cause further distress. Our guts can be damaged from a number of things, including stress, infections, parasites, low-quality food and drink, alcohol, and even normal daily wear.  I personally am still undergoing healing of my digestive track and unfortunately can not have dairy without feeling ill. This could change over time, as I let my body continue to heal without the presence of any irritants.

I will admit it; I like the laziness of protein powder. However, I like to always point out that one should really focus on getting most of their intake from real food that involves biting, chewing, and swallowing, which cues your body to start the chemical digestion of your food. But sometimes you need something just a little bit easier, I get it. There are of some vegan protein powders that I do like, but my current favorite way to get a dairy-free boost of protein, along with many other positive health effects, is one you may not have heard of before…



What is gelatin? Gelatin is a natural protein collagen derived from the skin, bones, and joints of animals. Don’t worry though, it is flavorless. Remember Jello as a kid? Exact same thing, except I recommend buying from a high quality source, such as Great Lakes Gelatin, which only uses gelatin from grass fed animals. I buy mine from Amazon.

Gelatin has no shortage of health benefits, but here are some of my favorites:

  • strengthened bones and joints
  • reduced inflammation in body
  • balancing effect of hormones
  • heals the lining of the digestive track, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from food
  • supports/boosts metabolism
  • reduces wrinkles and cellulite (collagen in gelatin keeps skin tight and firm)
  • helps with general hair, skin, and nail health
  • its amino acids aide in muscle growth

How to use gelatin?

They are a few different kinds of gelatin you can get. The red bottle (beef gelatin) will gel when mixed with liquid, so it is great have for making fun treats, like gummies or marshmallows. They are tons of fun recipes and variations on the web.

The green bottle (called collagen hydrolysate) is what I use for more simpler applications, like adding to a protein shake. It is water-soluble, meaning you don’t have to worry about it gelling. I typically add 2 tbsp to a shake, which provides about 12 grams of quality protein. Here is my current favorite shake:

Gut Healing Shake


  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp gelatin, green bottle
  • 1-2 tbsp of melted coconut oil, coconut butter, or coconut cream (cream from the top of full-fat canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen diced mango (or other frozen fruit)
  • 1 scoop barleans chocolate silk greens powder (or a tbsp cacao/cocoa powder plus some stevia or honey)
  • 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder
  • dash of salt (getting enough salt in conjunction with fluids is very important)
  • 3-4 ice cubes

As any of you who follow me on instagram may know, I have a fun desert treat involving gelatin that I make frequently. I actually use the red bottle for this, though either one would work.

Healing Brownie Batter


  • 1 heaping tbsp room temp coconut oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 heaping tbsp great lakes gelatin
  • 1 heaping tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder (optional, but also great for healing of the digestive track)
  • pinch of salt
  • optional extracts such as vanilla or peppermint

Mash everything together well and savor. It’s rich, chocolatey, and full of beneficial health foods. My kind of desert!

It’s safe to say I LOVE gelatin and it has become one of  my favorite supplements. An even better source of gelatin is homemade bone broth, which my instagram readers may have already seen, too. 🙂 I will give my easy directions on that soon!

Aside from gelatin, I will occasionally use a vegan protein powder and there are a few that I like:

1) Shakeology Chocolate Vegan (delicious, though I think it is extremely overpriced)

2) Perfect Fit Brown Rice Protein

3) Sun Warrior Brown Rice Protein

4) Garden of Life Raw Protein

For someone who does well with whey protein, my absolute favorite protein powder is:

Raw Organic Whey. It is made from grass-fed animals and has zero fillers or added ingredients. It makes the BEST shake. So creamy and clean tasting.

So that is my take on protein supplementation for now! Thoughts? Comment below!


My Dream Thanksgiving

27 Nov

I don’t know about you, but lately my time has been spent gawking at all the amazing Thanksgiving-themed foodie fare that has is being posted around the web. Of course I had to do a post on some of my favorites so I have them all in one place. My top picks prove you can have a great celebration with food, while keeping it nutritious at the same time. Granted, I probably won’t be making all of these for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, but in my “dream thanksgiving”, this is what would be served:


classic herb roasted turkey


creamy GAPS gravy


cranberry sauce


green beans with caramelized onions


cranberry orange apple sangria


pumpkin plantain bread


upside down cranberry orange bread


green bean casserole


grain free stuffing


peppermint chocolate truffles


pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust


pumpkin poppers with cinnamon topping


pumpkin fudge

Tomorrow can’t get here fast enough!

For more recipe ideas, check out my Pinterest boards: HERE!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Just in time for the Holidays

26 Nov

How do start off a post after not blogging for a solid 4, almost 5, months? Yikes. In all honesty, that time has felt like the blink of eye. Life has been very busy to say the least, which meant no room for blogging. I kept trying to figure out a post to explain this, but I never wanted to write that “goodbye” post. Instead, I took a much-needed break, realized how much I missed it, and am now hoping to ramp up the ol’ blog for another go! I am home for the whole week on Thanksgiving break, which means I actually have a few minutes to do something other than school work on the computer. It feels quite strange at the moment. 🙂

A lot has happened since we’ve last talked so first, a few highlights to get caught up:

1. I made substantial progress in my healing process, thanks to being faithful to a lifestyle change and close collaboration with my holistic doctor. Wow, I’ve really opened up a whole new door in the world of health and nutrition. Comparing how I lived and what I ate from a year ago, with what I now do, is completely different! It is really cool to see how nutrition continues to evolve. I’ve gotten back to more traditional ways of doing things and realized how smart our ancestors really were. Eat like them and you’ll be in good shape! The Paleo/Primal lifestyle was off-putting to me at first, as I thought it sounded too restrictive or boring or hard. Fortunately, with time, it became second nature and I found out that when I focused on what I WAS able to have, I had all the variety I could possibly want. More importantly, I had all I needed to provide my body with what it needed to feel great.


Today I still follow a mostly grain free diet that is high in fat, salt, and sugar. No, that wasn’t a typo! This is how my view of what nutrition looks like has changed. Those 3 things are something we need to function properly, but it’s about choosing the right kinds! My fat comes from things like pastured grass fed animals, coconut oil, lard, butter/ghee, and occasionally other dairy fats (milk, cream, whey protein) from grass fed animals. My salt is unrefined and full of essential minerals, like this one. My sugar comes from fruits, vegetables, (especially sweet potatoes, squash, and plantains!), and also local raw honey or real maple syrup. In addition, I get good amounts of protein from good quality sources. I have expanded on the types of protein I eat now, and tried new-to-me nutrient dense options such as liver, beef heart, and even tongue! Did I loose any readers after that one? It is these very parts of the animal that are in-fact the most nutritious and yet many times they are just thrown away and seen as useless!

So my eating has changed and been greatly expanded, in a way that I believe is helping my body to thrive while also being able to satisfy any possible craving I may get. If you know me at all, you know that I like to creative with what I eat. Well I was up for the challenge this past year. Donuts, brownies, cakes, and more have all still been enjoyed! Oh yes.


More to come on all of that.

2. I moved back to my university town and moved into a new house…with 5 roommates.

Due to the state of my health almost a year ago, I was forced to move back home and take my classes online. I was fortunate enough to not fall behind in my mission towards becoming a Registered Dietitian, and I picked right back up with things. The new living situation has been…interesting. There’s bound to be interesting situations with 6 girls under the same roof after all.

3. I enrolled in a challenging semester of courses, namely studying the Human Body.

I am about two weeks away from finishing the semester and there will be a major celebration and victory dance once it is done. Whew!

4. I celebrated my 21st birthday on August 21st.

Yep, I’m all grown up.


5. I am one week (or less) away from becoming an aunt! …to what I’m quite positive will be one handsome baby boy.

That brings us to the present! (plus or minus a few details, but close enough)

From this point, I won’t be on any blogging schedule really, but I do definitely have more to share, so stay tuned!

Tomorrow will be a thanksgiving food post! 😉



Why Reducing Your Toxic Load Is Important

8 Jul

Contrary to what some may think, I am in fact still alive!  A break from the blog was not exactly planned but sometimes things just happen and you have to roll with it. I needed some time to focus on other things, namely healing. The good news is that since working with my holistic doctor since February, I am doing significantly better health-wise. Things are not back to normal 100% and I am still following the healing diet as well as taking several supplements. For a while, I was not making any progress…my doctor and I came to the conclusion that I had been fighting off multiple infections in my body causing my immune system to bottom out and “give up.” Not good! So we amped up the immune supporting foods and supplements and things have gotten a ton better.

My perspective on health in regards to diet and lifestyle has changed significantly over the last 6 months and this is something I hope to share more about. What I wanted to share today was some changes I have made to reduce toxins in my life. This is something I had not even thought much about. Being a lover of food and nutrition, that was what my main focus has always been to achieve good health. However, I have found out that there are actually many other factors that can affect one’s health. Unfortunately, the world we live in is very toxic. From the air we breath, to the household cleaning products we use, and even the lotion we put on our bodies.

Here’s the problem: when you are constantly exposing yourself to toxins, your body will have to spend all of it’s time and effort on ridding these from our body. However, when you make a conscious effort to reduce the toxins in your life, then your body will be more at ease and able to defend against ailments and sicknesses. This is especially important for someone is already suffering any bit of health problems (like I am), because you want your body to spend it’s time healing rather than being dragged down by a high toxin load. Want to keep your health up and prevent getting sick? Start reducing your toxin load today!

Of course we can’t easily change the air we breath in, but we can change the products we use on a daily basis. I have gradually starting making many of my own non-toxic products and have really been enjoying them! I originally did it for health reasons, but here’s the bonus: it’s cheap. You will save a boatload of money in the long run! Sure there’s an upfront cost to get a few ingredients you may not have, but the good news is that once you have a few things, you can make a whole slew of products.

Now I’ll share some of my favorites so far:

Homemade Whipped Body Butter


Remineralizing Toothpaste


Homemade Mouth Wash


Honey Shampoo


Coconut Shampoo


All-Purpose Citrus Orange Cleaner


Laundry Detergent


This is just a few that I have incorporated into my life, but if there is interest, I will do more posts on products I am making and using. Even just changing one thing that you use can make a difference in your health, as well as your pocket book, so give it a try!

Are you doing anything to reduce your toxin load? Have a frugal recipe to share? Tell me about it!


This and That

6 May

Happy Monday!

I don’t think I have mentioned before that I am an Ambassador for the Ellie clothing company. I’m sure a lot of you have heard about this (AWESOME) website and I can assure you that their fitness clothing is not only top notch in quality, but so cute and comfy. I have been able to try out a few pieces so far, including this top and bottom from this month’s line: Coral Crush:


It Takes Two Top and To Dye For Capri

You see, each month they put out a new line of clothing and when you sign up, you get to pick out a top and bottom piece of your choosing from the collection to have sent to you. I can dig this concept. Also since I am an ambassador, you all can get 20% off using my referral code! Click on the link below if you’re interested. (link is also on the right side of my blog) Its pretty sweet. 😉


On the food front, my diet is still being tweaked and I received some information from the naturopath doc that did not make me a very happy camper. Guys, I can’t have….EGGS.


Sure, take away the gluten…remove the dairy….no soy in sight. But you want me to give up EGGS TOO?! Ugh.

Okay. complaining done. Moving on.

Basically a strict diet is very important right now otherwise if I eat something not ‘approved’, it can figuratively knock heads with the natural herbs I’m taking to heal my insides. Gotta do what you gotta do though. Eggs, while one of the most nutritious foods you can give your body, can sometimes be problematic when your stomach isn’t in tip top shape. I am hopeful that I will be able to add back in eggs at some point, so the important thing to remember is it’s only temporary…and hey, if it works, then I can’t ask for more than that.

Somebody eat a peanut butter cup for me.

I have been on a bit of a smoothie kick lately so I thought I would share a few of my most recent blends that all turned out really delicious. They all are pretty similar bases, just switching up the flavors depending on the mood I’m in.  I have been adding in either fresh lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar to get their alkalinizing effects. Also, no dairy for me currently so I’m using and loving my tried and true Sun Warrior protein. These have really been hitting the spot! So grab your blender and lets get drinkin’.


Lemon Berry Blast

  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 1 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (I use almond or coconut)
  • 1 serving protein powder (I use Sun Warrior rice protein)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 5 ice cubes

Chocolate Cherry Delight

  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 serving protein powder (I use Sun Warrior rice protein)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (I use almond or coconut)
  • 5 ice cubes

Creamy Pina Colada

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lime
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or almond)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 serving protein powder (I use Sun Warrior rice protein)
  • 5 ice cubes

Cleo has really been wanting to make another blog appearance. She poses for the camera at least several times per day so I figured I better sneak one in of her with today’s post…she will be pleased.


She plays outside whenever possible and is the queen of the back yard. This pup does not tire…ever! And she likes to wake up at 5 a.m. We are working on that one…

Other notes worth mentioning:

  • I will put up a post soon about some tips on ditching the sweeteners/ taming your sweet tooth as some of you expressed interest in that. Give me a bit; I’ve got online finals to study for this week!
  • I am probably going to be posting more on Instagram now. I’m really liking the ease of being able to quickly post bits and pieces since I just can’t seem to find a lot of time for blogging like I used to. We’ll see how it goes. Follow me HERE!
  • I am undergoing more testing to get to the bottom of my stomach/colon/intestinal issues so any prayers or good vibes would be greatly appreciated! I am still in a great deal of pain and unable to sleep flat; I’ve been in a recliner for over 4 months now. Truth: I miss my bed. A lot.

Okay that’s it for today! Have a good one!


What I’m Eating Wednesday

24 Apr

It’s been a while since I’ve joined in on the Wednesday food party but this week I decided I was not going to miss out. My new diet is still going strong and I really believe it is helping. Sometimes you just need to let your stomach heal and take a step back from the more questionable, irritating foods. It is really eye opening to see how certain foods were causing you problems all along and you didn’t even know it!

And I strongly recommend cutting out the sweeteners for a period of time to re-set blood sugar levels and tame your sweet tooth! I am amazed at how SWEET things taste all on their own after you get that under control. Amazing. Give it a try. It’s not fun at first, but very well worth it.

Tibits of my eats lately have including some of the following:


IMG 4623

soft boiled eggs, avocado, and sauerkraut


IMG 4619

afternoon smoothie: 1/2 cup frozen cherries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop plant fusion protein powder, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tbsp coconut oil, ice, hemp hearts on top


IMG 4611

spinach turkey olive salad with the most amazing and easy tahini dressing

More Snacks

IMG 4620

almond butter with banana and strawberries

IMG 4621

pineapple and sweet potato muffins (made without the stevia) with grass-fed raw butter


IMG 4609

spiralized roasted zucchini, avocado cream sauce, and tilapia


IMG 4613

Yes I still have dessert!

These little guys are awesome and so simple. Just combine equal parts coconut oil and dark cocoa powder and pour into silicon muffin tins. Set in the fridge/freezer to let harden and walah! Instant chocolate cups! You can add honey, stevia, etc if you want but I’m eating them bitter and delicious. 😉