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Lets face it—eating healthy is challenging on many levels. Aside from the higher price of organic and chemical-free foods, the inconvenience of shopping and preparing food makes it unappealing in our fast-paced culture. That said, we can tackle any challenge that we make a priority.

And, if you do not make healthy eating a priority, then you are practically guaranteed to suffer mild to major health issues (from weight gain to allergies to life-threatening disease).

So what exactly does a day of healthy eating look like? In two words, nutrient dense. 

We are not counting calories or eliminating fat from our diet here folks, we are simply aiming for lots of nutrients, plenty of healthy fats, a variety of fruits and veggies, quality protein sources, and hydration. Honestly, counting calories and restricting fat intake will make you sick! (more on that in a future post)

Following is an example of a totally healthy menu, assuming you are not allergic to any of the items on the menu or have other restrictions from medications or otherwise. (Remember, your diet should be personalized to maximize YOUR health, there is no one-size-fits-all diet, so modify accordingly, and make sure all ingredients are local or organically grown from trusted sources.)

Pre-breakfast: Start your day with a glass of water with fresh lemon squeezed in it (hydrating and alkalizing), followed by a morning cup of unsweetened coffee or green tea (both are hydrating and green tea is highly anti-oxidizing).  If you must sweeten your coffee or tea, use local honey or grade B maple syrup; both have healthful qualities. Feel free to add a Tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil to your coffee or tea! Also, be sure to use natural spring water or filtered water for drinking and cooking as municipal tap water contains chlorine, fluoride, and other undesirable particulates.

Breakfast: Smoothie: In a blender, add ¼ cup of pure fruit juice (i.e., tart cherry juice or pomegranate juice), ¼ cup water, ½ of a banana, a cup of loose greens (kale, arugula, beet greens, spinach, etc), 1 Tbsp chia or hemp seeds, 1 Tbsp almond butter, a handful of berries, ½ apple. Blend until smooth.  Sometimes I add fresh ginger root (1 inch piece), cocao powder, turmeric, cinnamon, pinch of cayenne, or other health promoting herbs to amp up the health-promoting effects.

Snack: Morning snack: organic celery or apple slices with almond butter.

Lunch: Fresh dark green salad with a lean meat or fish and a variety of raw veggies. I like to add red bell pepper, purple cabbage, shaved beets, cucumbers, beans, nuts and seeds, including walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. Easy dressing: fresh lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, sea salt/pepper to taste.

Afternoon snack: ½ avocado with sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil (cold expeller pressed) and a squeeze of lemon with a pinch of sea salt. Scoop it out of the shell with a spoon, deelish!!!!

Dinner: Baked marinated boneless chicken breast, sautéed mixed veggies (i.e., onion, shredded cabbage, and squash), raw veggie salad with vinaigrette (i.e., cucumber, red bell pepper, and carrots with vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to taste). 

Dessert: ¼ cup dairy-free coconut ice cream with raspberries and a squeeze of lime and a small piece of 85% cocoa dark chocolate bar.

Other Notes: Be sure to drink filtered water, natural spring water, or mineral water from a trusted source, and no sodas (neither sugary nor sugar-free). Keep fruit juices to a minimum (due to sugar content) unless you have them fresh squeezed with lots of nutrient dense greens and veggies juiced together with them. Also, this type of eating is very low in carbs and high in nutrition, a formula for optimal health from my personal experiences.

Regarding fats, use only healthy fats—i.e., extra virgin olive oil for cold foods and salad dressings, coconut oil, and butter from local grass-fed free range cows for sautéing and hot food applications.  I give my eating plan, which has lots of other suggestions and guidelines, away for FREE. Click here to request one!

Eating this way takes some planning and advanced food prep, but it is well worth the effort!  I promise, if you eat like this every day, your life will change for the better. You will lose weight easily, you won’t feel hungry, and you will look and feel healthier and more vibrant.

For the new year, I will be leading a healthy living initiative. Keep your eyes out for the upcoming formal announcement and please join us! Basically, I will create weekly eating plans and will suggest modifications for special needs (i.e., vegetarian, food allergies, etc). I will also provide some guidance on exercise and recommended physical activity. We will walk through this together and discuss challenges, successes, and strategies for overcoming the biggest hurdles we encounter.

Once again, I hope you found this post informative and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read it!

Yours in health and well being,

Allison

 
 
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Today’s topic is about that voice in your head that endlessly evaluates everything, talks you into doing things you should not, and convinces you not to do things you should.

This voice tells you that if you leave your toxic job you will lose everything you worked so hard to attain and that spending your hard-earned money on a hobby or a well-deserved massage is reckless and likely the first step toward becoming homeless.

Unless properly managed, this voice will strive to take you to the mat at every turn. This inner bantering is not only irrational, it is psychotic! It keeps you in a constant state of fear, ensuring that you remain ever on the alert for any and everything that can possibly go wrong. I mean seriously, if you had a companion who spoke to you that way, you would kick them to the curb for continually scaring you to death!

The good news is that you can change this inner dialogue to one that is focused on positive outcomes and possibilities, giving you the ability to make healthier decisions and, yes, experience total peace of mind. That’s right, you can experience a deep sense of inner peace! It takes time and effort, but it is definitely within your reach.

In order to do so, it is helpful to understand that this voice comes from your subconscious mind. It is ultimately trying to protect you from harm, but it is misguided and can ultimately cause more harm than good when its programming is fear based.

This programming comes from many sources going all the way back to childhood, possibly even from the time you were in the womb receiving subtle messages from your mother’s thoughts, feelings, and state of mind. Once born, it was learned from your parents, grandparents, and other family members. Later, it was influenced by television, teachers, peers, and by now, a lifetime of experiences.

Of course, not all of the programming is negative or fear based, but our reactions to the fear-based programming are much stronger and can be so subtle you just get a feeling rather than a thought in the form of words or sentences.

For example, if you work in a corporate environment, there are unspoken expectations around the dress code, political affiliations, sexual preferences, sports team and college affiliations, even which channel you select for your source of news. You may not consciously be aware of every expectation but you sense it and monitor and adjust your behaviors accordingly, even if that’s not the way you would behave if left to your own devices. Why? You are avoiding anticipated discomfort or pain (from disapproving peers to job loss). This is your subconscious mind in action!

As you might expect, changing the tendency to be on constant alert is no small undertaking. And the number of methods for retraining the subconscious is unlimited. I will dive into some of these methods in later posts, but here’s are a few methods I am familiar with:

·      Meditation
·      Yoga
·      Practicing mindfulness in every moment
·      Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
·      Positive affirmations
·      Energy healing techniques (i.e., Reiki)
·      Acupuncture
·      Breathing exercises
·      Prayer

There are also some excellent books out there to help you get started:

·      The Untethered Soul
·      The Power of Now
·      Your Sacred Self (or anything by Wayne Dyer)
·      The Four Agreements
·      A Return to Love (or anything by Marianne Williamson) 

YouTube is also a terrific source of information on this topic. Here are some video links:

·      Spirit Science video series
·      Louise Hay
·      EFT 

I sincerely hope you found today’s topic interesting and worthy of further exploration. Your efforts to shift your inner conversation to a more positive and self-empowering dialogue will pay off in ways you could never imagine. I hope you take that leap!

Yours in health, well being, and inner peace,

Allison

 
 
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There’s a lot of talk about detoxing these days. But what does “detox” mean exactly, why is it so popular, and is detoxing right for you?

Unfortunately, there are toxins in our food, drinking water, air, household cleaning products, medicines, air fresheners, lotions, perfumes, cosmetics, radiation from wireless devices, cookware, and in plastic water bottles. The list is virtually endless.  For your reference, here’s a list compiled by the Global Healing Center.

Our bodies are well equipped to protect us from these things and to extract them from our bodies; however, the volume of toxic substances we are exposed to on a daily basis is more than our bodies can handle. Over time this leads to disease, including obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, brain fog, depression, and much more.

So, detoxing is basically the process of eliminating toxins that are stored in your body and reducing or eliminating your exposure to toxic substances in your environment and from other sources of exposure.

While it is not possible to prevent exposure entirely, you can greatly reduce your exposure by taking certain measures, such as eating organic produce, using natural household cleaning products and cosmetics, cooking with iron skillets rather than Teflon coated pans, etc.

Since we have been exposed to these substances over the course of many years, detoxing is an activity I recommend everyone incorporate into their lifestyle (at least twice/year). I personally recommend finding a detox plan that works for your budget and your schedule. Note: detoxing can be time consuming and expensive, and if the toxin load in your body is high, it can cause temporary sickness or discomfort.

I completed in my first detox regimen a few years ago. I basically followed The 4 Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, which is designed to minimize your exposure to toxins and maximize your nutrition while assisting your organs with the elimination of toxins from your body with supplements and herbal teas.

The program changed my life. It reset my body and mind, my skin cleared up and got softer and more radiant, I rapidly dropped 15lbs of excess weight, and my energy level skyrocketed!  I did not suffer any negative side effects from the program, even though the author warned that I might feel worse before I felt better. Admittedly, it was a lot of work, but it was worth the effort. 

I will review specific detox options for you in a future post and will provide some guidelines for minimizing your exposure to hazardous substances. Just know that the first hurdle is becoming aware of what is out there; then you can make better decisions and take action to protect yourself and your family from harm.

Thanks for reading this post, catch you next week!

Yours in health and well being,

Allison  

 
 
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I am not writing today to tell you how much water you should drink or to discuss alternative hydrating options (you can read about that on my blog (scroll down to see the post prior to this article).  Instead I want to discuss what’s in your tap water and why it matters.

For years we have literally been programmed to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.” Once the “drink more water campaign” gained steam, there was an onslaught of bottled water. Now, there are so many water options it’s mind boggling! Vitamin, flavored, sparkling, mineral, coconut, distilled, filtered, natural spring, tap, and plain old bottled drinking water. The list goes on.

Are all water sources equal in quality? No, not by a long shot. It gets a bit complicated so let’s narrow the discussion for now to tap water.

Most people in developed countries get water in their home from a municipal source (i.e., from your city or county), or they have wells that capture ground water for consumption.

Water that comes from wells can be exposed to toxins, such as pesticides, or run-off from nearby construction sites, and well water may have an unpleasant odor; therefore, most well owners filter their water to eliminate the contaminants and any undesirable smell.

Municipal water, while filtered and treated, still contains some less-than-savory (and frankly unhealthy) particulates. Many of these contaminants are toxic and can have long-term negative effects on human health.1 And some of these contaminants that are known to be harmful are actually added to the water! (i.e., chlorine and fluoride).1

While these particulates at low levels may not pose an immediate threat to your health, exposure over time does. In addition to other toxins that we are exposed to in our food and environment (house cleaners, perfumes, air fresheners, lotions, and such) our organs can get overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of exposure, leaving us susceptible to disease. For this reason, I highly recommend filtering all tap water used for cooking, drinking, and bathing.

A whole-house filter is ideal but cost-prohibitive for most people (starts around $1,000). An under-the-sink reverse osmosis filtration system for your kitchen is a great option for drinking and cooking needs but is not cheap ($200–$400 plus installation).

To keep the costs down, I purchase reverse osmosis water in 5 gallon bottles from the local health food store for drinking and cooking. It only costs 40 to 60 cents per gallon. And, I have a shower filter ($60) to protect my skin from unnecessary toxic exposure. Skin is the largest organ of the body, you know!

I just want to tell you, I was AMAZED at the difference the water shower filter made on my skin and hair. Literally, within a week, my chronic dry skin and the frizziness of my hair was eradicated! It’s one of the best investments I have ever made, and the replacement filters cost only $50 and they cover the amount of water required for daily showers for two people for 6 months.

If you are interested in purchasing a filter for your shower, sink or kitchen, click here to see my recommendations.

Now, I realize today’s topic was a bit less interesting than tips for shedding unwanted pounds, but it’s so important I felt I had to touch on it sooner rather than later.

In any case, I hope you found the post informative and I hope you will be proactive in taking measures to reduce your exposure to toxic substances. Filtering your tap water and shower is an excellent start.

Yours in health and wellness,

Allison

1. Drinking Water Contaminants. Available at http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/. Last updated October 29, 2014.

 
 
Hey everybody,

For your reference, here’s a brief essay about the importance of staying hydrated and how much water you need on a daily basis.

Water accounts for approximately 60% of body weight and it is critical to staying alive and healthy. It affects the functioning of organs and tissues, regulation of body temperature, nutrient availability for use by various parts of the body, eliminating waste, keeping skin supple, and much more.1–3

The standard recommendation for water intake for a healthy adult is 8–13 cups of water per day, more if you engage in exercise or other dehydrating activities, such as drinking alcohol.1  That may seem like a lot of water to drink in a day, but by consuming hydrating food and beverages, such as soups, fruits, and vegetables, the amount of drinking water required to stay hydrated decreases.4

The actual amount of water you need per day to stay hydrated has become the subject of much debate in recent years because so many factors influence hydration levels. I personally recommend you listen to your body. When you feel thirsty, drink some water or tea, or grab a slice of watermelon to satiate your thirst.

Thanks for reading this post!

Yours in health and wellness,

Allison

1. Mayo Clinic. Nutrition and healthy eating. Water: How much should you drink every day? Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.

2. Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Functions of water in the body. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/functions-of-water-in-the-body/img-20005799.

3. Survival Topics. How long can you survive without water? http://www.lb7.uscourts.gov/documents/09-29981.pdf.

4. Shape. Top 30 hydrating foods. http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/top-30-hydrating-foods.