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Ahhhh sugar! We have had a long romance with sugar, and it has been oh so sweet. We love it so much we put in our coffee, tea, cakes, candy, donuts, breads, and cereals. And as it turns out, it has been added to nearly all processed foods.

Our sweet little lover however, has been deceitful, distracting us and tantalizing our taste buds with delight while wreaking havoc with our health and our waistlines. That’s right, we have been in bed with a charismatic, poisonous rat!

Our obsession with this elusive white gold however, is not entirely our fault. We had the wool pulled over our eyes for a very long time. But the veil is lifting, and what we have discovered is not pretty.

Sugar has a dark and sordid past, not unlike drugs, alcohol, tobacco, cotton, or other big industries. The story goes back to the 18th century and it involves slavery, wretched and impoverishing working conditions, cartels, lobbyists, and politicians. It’s all about money and power, and unbeknownst to most people, the sugar shenanigans are alive and well today.

Here are two documentaries that might interest you: “Big Sugar” Sweet, White & Deadly, by Brian McKenna presents the history of sugar in all its dark glory from the 18th century to contemporary times, and Hungry for Change exposes the dangers of sugar and how we’ve gotten ourselves into a dieting “trap” that guarantees to keep us fat and sick.

So, it seems that the time has come for the romance with sugar to come to an end. It is a bittersweet ending and there will be lots of mourning and a lingering desire for another fling for some time to come. However, we will survive. And, we will walk away healthier, happier, and more beautiful than ever!

I hope you found todays post informative and interesting. Thank you for reading!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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Hey everybody!

Finally we are starting to get a break in the weather. What a relief to have some sunshine and warm temperatures!! But you know what that means, don’t you? Yep, you will be stripping down to your shorts and bathing suits before you know it.

If your response to my last sentence was “uggghhh”, then take a moment to recommit yourself to any goals you set for the new year or, set some new goals now. Or, you could simply commit to taking some sort of consistent action that will get you closer to where you want to be.

Here are some simple things you could do to get prepared for bathing suit season:

  • start a couch-to-5K running plan
  • download a fitness app to your phone and try it
  • hire a trainer (btw, I am available J )
  • throw out all processed foods in your cupboard
  • buy fresh local produce instead of canned, frozen, or bagged
  • plan your meals and snacks in advance
  • think “lean and green” when preparing or buying meals
  • meditate (even 5 minutes perday helps!)
  • be kind to yourself, negative inner chatter is demotivating
  • start juicing
  • have a green smoothie for a meal once or twice per week
  • learn to garden (physically and emotionally rewarding)

And, if you feel really stuck, like you’ve just let yourself go so far that the hurdles are too big to overcome, watch the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It is very motivating to see the main character transform his life and subsequently transform the lives of others. And, it is always good to be reminded that you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s right, you can do it!

The key here is in taking action, do something about it. The most difficult part is starting. Don’t think about it, don’t evaluate it, don’t analyze it, don’t “try”, just do it!

And, if you haven’t done so, you might also consider joining our free Healthy Lifestyle Initiative. By joining you will gain access to free resources that can help you plan your meals, set goals and follow through with them, and receive more in-depth information about certain topics that affect your health and well-being. If f this interests you, sign up here.

I hope you found this week’s newsletter helpful and motivating.

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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Following up on last week’s article about organic produce, I want to discuss other sources of substances that you are regularly exposed to that may be putting your health (and your children’s health) at risk. Here’s the short list:

·      Water (tap water, bottled water, showers, pools, etc.)
·      Food/Beverage (processed foods, juices, sodas, GMO’s, etc.)
·      Personal products (hair products, perfumes, soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, etc.)
·      House cleaning products (detergents, air fresheners, furniture polish, etc.)
·      Drugs (over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, vaccines, alcohol, etc.)

Now, I am not saying that any one of these specific items will cause you harm in isolation. In fact, most of the items on the list do more good than harm. I mean seriously, you couldn’t live without food and water, many people rely on drugs to sustain their quality of life temporarily and/or long term, and besides that, who wants to live in an unclean environment or scare people away with bad breath??!!

The problem is cumulative exposure to micro-amounts of harmful substances over time. Our bodies are well equipped to deal with exposure to these substances; that is what they are designed to do—protect you from harm and support your life.

Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, many of us have saturated our bodies and our natural filtration systems with these substances beyond our ability to cope. Just like a car engine, if you have too much junk in your gas (e.g., sugar in your blood) or too much oil in the engine (e.g., toxins in your food/water), the engine breaks down.

The good news is, you can do something about it. You can protect yourself from harm. You can avoid unnecessary disease and suffering. And, you can improve your situation, no matter how bad you think it is. If you don’t believe me, ask Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Oprah Winfrey, or Eckhart Tolle. (And that’s the short list!)

In order to do so, however, you must make better decisions. You will not get a different result by doing the same thing you have always done. Sorry, but it is true.

I could go on and on about this subject, but I will spare you my rants for now. Just know that all I am saying is this: you are going to eat, drink, shower, bathe, clean your home, medicate, deodorize, and do many other things on a regular basis that expose you to micro amounts of unsavory substances. If you are cognizant of this, you can minimize your exposure to the damaging particulates and protect your health by doing things like selecting organic produce, purchasing products that do not contain hazardous ingredients, filtering your water, detoxing, and using apps that help you make safer purchases (e.g., the Environmental Work Group’s Food Scores app and Skin Deep personal products app). 

Take control of the helm and you can steer yourself in the direction you wish to go. The good and bad news is this: it is up to you.

I hope you found the content of this post helpful and informative. Thank you for reading!!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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By far, the most common complaint I hear about organic produce is the difference in price. Yes it’s true, organic produce costs more than conventional produce. But, due to the benefits of eating organic, it costs sooooo much less in the long run that you might even consider it to be an investment, like a health savings account of sorts.

Let’s get to the basics. What does “conventionally grown” mean? It is a method for growing food that utilizes synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, fertilizers, and antibiotics and/or genetically modified organisms to increase the crop yield and shelf life of the product.1

Unfortunately, these chemicals and modified organisms are known to cause some disturbing and increasingly common health problems, including diabetes, food allergies, cognitive issues, obesity, and cancer.2

Given that information, it’s probably safe to assume that these substances could be considered poisonous. And by definition, poison is “a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health.”3

Let me ask you this, would you choose to eat food that contains a substance that tends to “destroy life or impair health” just because it’s cheap? Would you feed that to your children? I am sorry to say this, but eating conventional produce is basically equivalent to eating low doses of poison.

I know many people are struggling financially right now. If you cannot switch to 100% organic (or local produce from trusted farmers), you can hedge your health bets by completely avoiding certain conventional produce. And there are some conventionally grown items that retain almost none of the chemicals that they are exposed to. For more information, check out the Dirty Dozen (the most important ones to avoid) and the Clean 15 (the ones with the least amount of toxins). Using these lists to guide your purchases may reduce your exposure to pesticides by 80%!!4

Important note: sweet corn and papayas are on the Clean 15 list. Unfortunately, most of the corn and papayas grown on large farms in the United States are genetically modified. To avoid these issues, learn to read your produce sticker PLU numbers. A five-digit number that begins with a 9 indicates the produce is organic. A five-digit number that begins with an eight indicates the produce has been genetically modified. And, a four digit number that begins with a 3 or a 4 indicates the produce was conventionally grown.5

There are no guarantees. You may get sick no matter what you do, and unless someone discovers the key to eternal life, eventually you are going to die. However, choosing not to ingest synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms will certainly hedge your bets for a healthier and more pleasant future. And who knows, that regular investment in healthy food may just save you a significant amount of money on medical expenditures down the road,  very possibly more than the difference in the cost of making better food choices.

Resources:

1. Conventionally grown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventionally_grown. Accessed March 2, 2015.

2. Leah Zerbe and Emily Main. 10 Crazy Things Pesticides Are Doing to Your Body. http://www.rodalenews.com/agrochemicals Accessed March 2, 2015.

3. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/poison. Accessed March 2, 2015.

4. Jackie Pou. The dirty dozen and clean 15 of produce. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/the-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-of-produce/616/. Accessed March 2, 2015.

5. What do PLU codes say about your produce? http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/05/what-do-plu-codes-say-about-your-produce/index.htm. Accessed March 2, 2015.








 
 
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Motivational life coach, Tony Robbins, claims if you ask yourself better questions you get better answers and better solutions.1 Lets give this philosophy a litmus test.

“Why can’t I lose weight?!” I have heard this many times over the years. Unfortunately, it is a very unproductive question.

You see, our brains are designed to solve problems; that’s what they do! When you pose a question, your brain searches for answers.

With a self-directed question like “Why can’t I lose weight?” the answers that arise depend on one’s inner self-chat.

If a person tends to be overly self-critical, they might come up with an answer like “because you are a lazy fatso, how could you possibly lose weight when you sit on your butt eating bonbons all day!”

A person with a positive inner dialogue might come up with something like, “It’s just not in the cards, I mean seriously it’s probably genetic, everyone in my family tends to be overweight.”

In either case, where did those answers lead them? Nowhere. What solutions arose? None. What action will they likely take to address their dissatisfaction with being overweight? None.

What if they changed their question to “How can I lose weight?” All of a sudden, in either scenario, a list of solutions will automatically arise: eat healthier, exercise, stop drinking soda pop, take up jogging or kick-boxing, etc.

Will this cause them to lose weight? Of course not, but their mental problem solving efforts will have been much more productive. It will put them one step closer to their desired outcome, and in a position to take action rather than feeling helpless or sorry for themselves.

What questions are you asking yourself? Could you ask them in a way that leads to more productive answers? Give it a try. You might be surprised at the results!

Thanks for taking time to read our newsletter. I hope you found it helpful!!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

References:

1. Robbins A. Morning questions: Use the power of questions to change your life. Available at: http://training.tonyrobbins.com/morning-questions-use-the-power-of-questions-to-change-your-life/. Accessed 2/23/2015.

 
 
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Hey everyone!

In the previous post, I discussed why counting calories is a counterproductive obsession. But let’s be clear; it is important to monitor your food intake, eliminate the intake of unhealthy foods (e.g., sugar and processed foods), restrict the intake of foods that are less nutrient dense (starchy foods like potatoes, rice, and certain grains), avoid food contaminated with toxins (chemicals and pesticides), avoid unhealthy fats (trans fats and hydrogenated oils), and enjoy a moderate amount of protein and healthy fats (e.g., avocado, coconut oil, flax, nuts, and seeds).

When eating this way, fat becomes the largest source of total calorie intake. And that is OKAY! In fact, more and more studies are identifying some surprising potential health benefits of low carb high [healthy] fat diets including weight loss, improvements in chronic diseases, such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes, even reduced frequency of epileptic seizures, and inhibition of malignant cell growth in cancer.1–4

So when I say “stop counting those calories,” I am encouraging you not to obsess over calories in general and especially calories affiliated with healthy fats (saturated fats). I also encourage you to keep your intake of carbs and unhealthy fats on a very tight leash. Not all carbs and fats are the same. Aim for quality fats and carbs, and you will be well on your way to becoming the healthiest you possible.

Again, I hope this post was helpful and thank you for reading our newsletter!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

1. Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat. Available at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/07/carb-loaded-diabetes.aspx?e_cid=20150207Z1_DNL_B_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20150207Z1_DNL_B&et_cid=DM68795&et_rid=834323216.

2. Samaha FF, Iqbal N, Seshadri P, et al. A low-carbohydrate as compared with a low-fat diet in severe obesity. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2074–2081. Available at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022637.

3. Schachter SC, Kossoff E, Sirven J. Ketogenic diet. Epilepsy Foundation 2014. Available at: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet.

 
 
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We have been taught to be obsessed over the caloric content of food. Personally, I find it to be misleading and a waste of time. Seriously, have you ever tried to keep track of every calorie that you consumed in a day? It is a full-time job, and it is totally unnecessary.

But how can that be? Energy in minus energy out determines whether your waistline grows or shrinks! Well… that has been one of the presiding philosophies for a long time and it is difficult to let go of because it seems so logical. Here’s the thing: it is not totally accurate.

It is easy to think of your body as being similar to a car. You put fuel (energy) into it, it converts that energy into physical motion, and as a result waste is produced and released. Any unused energy is stored for later use. In a car, the fuel remains in the tank; in our bodies, the energy is stored as fat. This type of thinking leads to the energy in/out calorie-counting methodology for determining how weight is gained or lost in our bodies.

However, this model is too simplistic. Unlike your car, your body is organic—it is a wet machine. It is self-sustaining, it has healing capabilities, it is comprised of trillions of cells, and it is an entire ecosystem in and of itself!

Did you know that you have more bacterial organisms in your gut than human cells in your entire body?1 And, all these cells and organisms are communicating with each other and your brain to keep you safe from harm, sustain your life, house your spirit, heal your wounds, cleanse your insides, and follow your marching orders all at the same time. It is fantastically amazing!!!!!

Our personal ecosystem, which could be likened to the earth’s ecosystem, requires a balance of many variables to maintain itself and function optimally. When any particular element strays too far from equilibrium, something goes wrong. You catch a cold, develop a chronic disease, develop dementia, etc.

In order to maintain a healthy equilibrium, your body requires a combination of water, fat, cholesterol, vitamins, minerals, salt, bacteria, and other substances to function, as well as a certain amount of activity and rest. And in order to function optimally, it requires a very specific combination of these things.

One way to ensure your body is getting what it needs to function optimally is by getting regular exercise and eating a nutrient-dense diet that excludes processed sugars, processed foods, unnecessary toxins (like pesticides, chlorine, genetically modified substances, etc.), or other foreign or unnatural substances.

In other words, provide your body with what it needs, minimize your exposure to toxic substances, exercise, and get adequate rest, you will look good feel good, and your weight will automatically adjust to the ideal range, and you won’t have to waste another moment obsessing over calories.

I hope you found today’s newsletter interesting and insightful. Thank you for reading!!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

Resources:

1. Wenner M. Humans Carry More Bacterial Cells Than Human Ones. November 30, 2007. Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-humans-carry-more-bacterial-cells-than-human-ones/.

 
 
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Greetings Readers!

Today’s topic is of extreme importance when it comes to your health.

Inflammation is the sidekick of nearly all disease-related symptoms regardless of whether it is a chronic condition, a temporary disorder, or the side effect of an injury.  And, inflammation generally causes the pain or discomfort that makes you aware that something is wrong in the first place.1

For instance, if you cut yourself and the wound gets infected, the affected area becomes swollen, red, and sore. Or, if you have an asthma attack, your bronchial passages swell and you experience difficulty breathing. Regardless of the disorder, inflammation generally accompanies it, which causes discomfort or pain. 1

Taking measures to reduce or eliminate overall inflammation in your body can be life-changing. It can reduce or eliminate pain, increase overall well-being, prevent disease from occurring in the first place, and in some cases reduce or reverse chronic conditions. 1

People often take analgesics (e.g., Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve) when they experience pain or discomfort. While these pharmaceutical remedies may provide temporary relief, they have potential side effects of their own, including stomach upset, diarrhea, heartburn, or worse.2

The good news is that there are natural alternatives that can relieve symptoms with no unwanted side effects (e.g., ginger tea for indigestion or turmeric for pain). And, the great news is that you can take proactive measures to minimize overall inflammation in your body, and this is where you can really create some life-changing effects. Reducing inflammation may prevent the development of chronic disease, enhance the way you feel in general, or improve or eradicate a pre-existing chronic condition by eliminating the root cause of the disorder.1

Chronic inflammation in the body may not sound like something to be concerned with, but it has been linked with some very serious and debilitating disorders, including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and others.1

So, taking a proactive stance to reduce or eliminate inflammation in the body can not only improve your current health and well-being, it can also improve your chances of maintaining a high quality of life as you age.1

There are many causes of inflammation, but gut dysfunction is directly linked to inflammatory disorders. Other causes of chronic inflammation include medications, stress, poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyle, and alcohol use, just to name a few.1

So, if you want to reduce the overall inflammation in your body, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Eat a healthy diet. For most people, this means eating little to no sugar or processed foods, consuming small to medium portions of high quality protein, and lots of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and whole fruits. (join the FIYB Healthy Lifestyle Initiative and you can download my eating plan for free!<link: http://fitinyourbody.com/new-year.html
  • Consider taking a probiotic supplement
  • Eat fermented foods, and
  • Proactively address the factors associated with inflammation (e.g., exercise regularly, reduce stress by meditating, get adequate and quality sleep, etc.) 

I do hope you found today’s topic interesting and helpful. Eliminating inflammation is truly life-changing!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

P.S. While the content of this newsletter was primarily composed using the information presented in the first article below, there is a lot of information available on the internet about natural ways to reduce inflammation and improve gut health. Check it out!!

1. Marquis DM. How inflammation affects every aspect of your health. Available at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/07/inflammation-triggers-disease-symptoms.aspx

2. ShareCare. What are the side effects of analgesics? Available at: http://www.sharecare.com/health/analgesic-pain-relief/side-effects-analgesics

 
 
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Good morning readers!

I was watching a video this morning that scrolled across my Facebook wall that inspired today’s post.

Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight interviewed James Quincey, the President of The Coca-Cola Company’s Europe Group about the amount of sugar in Coca-Cola products, particularly in the sodas you buy at the cinema (they contain a staggering amount of sugar—the equivalent of 23 to 44 packets of sugar!!!) Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4tSdTUbxMs.

It is an undisputable fact that refined sugar is not only counterproductive to your health, it is linked to quite a few life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cancer, hypertension, and liver damage. And added sugar is a standard ingredient in most processed foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, and molasses, just to name a few. (1)

Dr. Mercola, one of my favorite go-to sources for diet and health information, has written many articles about sugar and sugar substitutes. Here’s a link that lists the articles available through his website: http://search.mercola.com/results.aspx?q=sugar. He also provides great information about the difference between eating fresh fruit versus drinking fruit juice.

My personal take on it is that fresh whole fruit contains fiber that slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream.  On the other hand, fruit juice by itself does not have anything to slow down the energy release. And, many store brands of fruit juice have added sugars, making them even worse!  Certain sugars, like liquid fructose, are easy and cheap to manufacture, and are readily used in the manufacture of processed foods. This type of sugar is particularly bad for you.

Honestly, if food has been “manufactured,” it most likely contains unwanted sources of sugar and other less-than-savory, and possibly hazardous or toxic, ingredients.

As always, I recommend eating a nutrient-dense diet featuring unlimited amounts of fresh vegetables across the color spectrum, some quality protein and healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil, etc), fermented foods, and small to moderate amounts of fresh fruits. My personal experience has been that eating this way keeps me feeling satiated, boosts my energy level, promotes weight loss, and even improves mental health.

If you want to know exactly what a diet like this looks like, join our Healthy Lifestyle Initiative (HLI) and gain access to our healthy lifestyle eating plan and other tools and resources designed to help you maximize your health and fitness levels. Sign up here.

 I hope you found today’s article helpful. Let me know what topics you want to learn about!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

References

1. CNCA Health. The Dangers of Sugar: Is It Really That Bad? Available at: http://www.cncahealth.com/explore/learn/nutrition-food/the-dangers-of-sugar-is-it-really-that-bad#.VMZknMZwNKo.

 
 
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I am frequently asked, “Which exercises will produce the most weight loss in the shortest period of time?”  Well, that is a loaded question, and the answer isn’t as simple as listing a few exercises.

First of all, the fastest and easiest way to achieve your ideal weight is to eat a healthy diet. (Join our 2015 FIYB Healthy Lifestyle Initiative and get a free copy of our newly revised eating plan). Combined with an exercise regimen that is appropriate for you, you will have no trouble managing your weight or your waistline.

How do you develop an exercise routine that is appropriate for you? Exercise prescription can get a little tricky. So, when I work with people I take a LOT of things into consideration: their current overall health, exercise history, health history (chronic illnesses, prior injuries or surgeries, etc), health and fitness goals, resource availability (cardio machines, tubing, weights, or other equipment), what activities they enjoy, what activities they deeply dislike, their lifestyle (active, sedentary, high achievers), profession, availability, attitude, and even their hobbies.

Basically, when you start an exercise program, you start wherever you are and set achievable short-term goals that lead to long-term goal achievement. If you are 30 years old and want to go from a sedentary lifestyle to a competitive marathon runner, your exercise program will be quite different from someone who is 50, relatively active, and who simply wants to maintain a good quality of life in the years ahead.

There are different types of exercises to consider as well. There are exercises that challenge the cardiovascular system (heart/lung capacity and efficiency), exercises that strengthen muscles and bones, whole-body exercises, exercises that improve core strength, balance, power, and overall condition. And, there are unlimited methods for designing exercise routines (e.g., timed exercise, sets reps and rest framework, tabatas, muscle confusion, cross-training, and so on). Not to mention, you can participate in a bootcamp, CrossFit, kettlebells, mind/body/spirit exercises (e.g., yoga), pilates, infomercial programs like P90X and Insanity workouts, or class/group training like kick-boxing or karate.

Because it is so complicated and so specific, you might consider hiring someone to help you design a routine that will get you started, keep you safe from injury, and teach you how to change things up over time for maximum results. Or, if you are already familiar with exercise routines and are just looking to shake things up or increase your personal library of exercises, there are plenty of great videos and references online that are free of charge, and there are lots of great reference videos and books available as well.

Just know that each type of exercise and exercise methodology has its own set of benefits, each exercise works very specific muscles or groups of muscles, and all of them contribute to weight management.

I hope today’s post was helpful for you. If you want access to additional resources to help you set and achieve your goals, eat healthy, manage and track your exercise routine, please join the 2015 FIYB Healthy Lifestyle Initiative. There’s no cost other than registering and investing time in your own health.

Or, if you need help designing a fitness program, give me a call (804) 301-0401 or email me at allisonandrews@fitinyourbody.com. (I also do in-home training for your convenience!)

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison