6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Digestion

In today’s busy and stressful world, our digestion is often less than optimal. Luckily, there are simple ways to improve your digestion on a foundational level.

Your digestion needs improvement if you frequently experience: bloating, heartburn, gas, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. However, poor digestion doesn’t end there.  Poor digestion can also result in environmental or food allergies, brain fog, eczema, weight gain, and more.

So, how can you support your digestive system?  Here are several tactical tips you can use to improve your digestion right now:

1. Reduce Fiber

While fiber can sometimes boost digestion, it’s important to remember that too much of a good thing can turn bad. In regards to digestion, too much fiber can actually inhibit digestive function. If you eat a high fiber diet and experience digestive distress, consider reducing your fiber intake. 

Additionally, fermentable carbohydrates can cause bloating and digestive discomfort for some, while insoluble fiber can be detrimental for others. As you can see, bio-individuality is a real thing! If you deal with chronic gut inflammation, avoid consuming too many vegetables that are high in insoluble fiber, like greens (spinach, kale, arugula, etc), onions, garlic, bell peppers, green beans, eggplant, celery, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Instead, opt for veggies with low amounts of insoluble fiber, including carrots, squashes, yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, beets, parsnips.  These foods are higher in soluble fiber, which tend to be easier on the gut.  I have found much digestive success in my clients who stick to these starchier foods.

 

2. Cook Your Veggies Well

When eating vegetables, especially those high in insoluble fibers, be sure to cook them well. Cooking helps to break down the hard-to-digest fibers. This process makes them easier on the digestive system and allows for easier nutrient absorption for your body. I recommend cooking your veggies by sautéing them with healthy oils (see below), baking, or steaming. I love steaming my vegetables in my instant pot.

 

3. Increase Healthy Fats

Surprisingly, eating healthy fats can help get things moving. It’s usually a big missing piece for those struggling with constipation. Some healthy fats include coconut oil, grass-fed ghee or butter, beef tallow, or lard. At all costs, avoid vegetable oils or industrial seed oils (canola, rapeseed, peanut, safflower, sunflower etc).

An easy way to increase your fat intake is to include more animal protein in your diet. Look for grass-fed meats and organ meats, wild caught fish, and pasture-raised whole eggs. These animal sources not only provide additional protein, but a variety of nutrients – way more than you’re going to find in the vegetables you’re avoiding. I love to order my meats from US Wellness Meats, a company that ensures everything I get will be grass-fed and grass-finished and sustainable. They deliver high quality, nutrient-dense meats right to your doorstep. Use the discount code “RAWFIT10” to receive 10% off your next order! 

 

4. Drink Bone Broth 

Bone broth is all the rage in the health and wellness world right now, but for good reason! This superfood has been used in traditional cultures for thousands of years, as it’s packed with minerals and amino acids, including those found in it’s gut-healing gelatin.

And, that’s not all. Bone broth contains glycine, which stimulates the production of stomach acid. Low stomach acid is frequently an underlying issue for many gut issues, so it’s essential to support healthy stomach acid production in order boost digestion. This liquid gold also aids in healing and sealing the gut lining and reducing the overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria.

 

5. Get Moving

Daily movement and exercise can help move food through your digestive system. Even low to moderate exercise, like walking, is an excellent strategy. A post-meal walk can help you better digest your food and also reduce your blood sugar levels. A nightly walk after dinner is also a great way to connect with your significant other or family members.

 

6. Consider Probiotics

Admittedly, probiotics are the only supplement I recommend to all of my clients. Why? Because 70% of our immune system is found in the gut. If we don’t have enough healthy gut bacteria to crowd out the bad ones, digestive and immune issues can arise. Always look for a high-quality probiotic that has been proven to survive the digestive process, otherwise the bacteria in your probiotic might be useless when it finally makes it to your gut! I recommend this probiotic to my clients. You can receive 15% off by using the code “RAW15.”

 

At the end of the day, bio-individuality is key. However, implementing these basic, foundational tips can help you improve digestion on a daily basis. If you’re still struggling with digestive discomfort or tell-tale signs of poor digestion, let’s chat! We can work together to figure out the root cause of your digestive issues and finally heal your body so you can live your life!

 

Gut Health 101: Nutrition Tips

Our gut health is impacted by every part of our daily lives, including diet, sleep, exercise, toxins, and more. However, the foods we eat are arguably the most influential factor.

Every aspect of life affects our gut health, just as the gut affects every other aspect of our health. It’s a two-way street. The health of our gut impacts everything from our skin to our immune system to our digestion.  While it’s essential to recognize the importance of a healthy gut, be wary of quick fixes, trendy products, and fad diets. As you know, the wellness world is full of these promising magic pills, that at best don’t deliver, and at worst, can be dangerous to your overall health.

At the end of the day, the best way to optimize your gut health is to get back to the basics. And let me tell you, the basics are very effective!

gut health 101: nutrition tips

Signs of an Impaired Gut

Is your gut health in tip top shape or could it use some help?  Let’s take inventory!  Here are some tell-tale signs of gut dysfunction:

  • Low energy
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Sugar cravings
  • Diabetes
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin issues
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Issues
  • Brain Fog
  • Low immunity
  • Joint Pain

If you frequently experience any of the above symptoms, chances are your gut health could use a little (or a big) boost. So, how can you best support your gut? Nutrition is the best place to start! Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Elimination

  • Eliminate all gluten, processed grains, conventional dairy, refined sugars, packages foods, pesticides, and GMOs.
  • Eliminate all vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, grapesseed).
  • Be an ingredient pyscho (like me!) and avoid all gums, fillers, preservatives. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t eat an ingredient alone, skip it!

Step 2: Dive a Little Deeper

  • Reduce/eliminate all raw veggies, beans, and un-sprouted grains.
  • Watch your fiber . You might be consuming too much or too little.
  • Chill out on the nuts and seeds. These foods can cause inflammation, as they’re hard to digest, even when sprouted.
  • Chill out, in general. Meditate, take walks, spend time with people you love, get sufficient sleep, and exercise, but not too much.
  • If you’re still experiencing symptoms, try eliminating foods high in lectins, oxalates, FODMAPs and/or other anti-nutrients.

Step 3: Supplement

  • Take a probiotic – I love this one from Seed, which unlike most probiotics on the market, actually survives the acid in your stomach and makes it’s way into your gut intact.  My clients (and myself) have seen dramatic shifts from using this probiotic.
  • Drink bone broth!  Bone broth is rich in gelatin and healing to the digestive tract.

Some of these tips might feel extreme to you, but if your symptoms are truly that bad, these suggestions are hardly extreme. If you’re looking for additional support in making these changes, I would love to help. I offer a 90-day private coaching program to help you improve your digestion and effortlessly lose fat. This program can help you feel like yourself again!

gut health 101: nutrition tips

Here’s what one client had to say about her results:

“Holy crap has my perspective on food completely shifted. I initially went in my 3-month coaching program very impatient and wanting Amanda to tell me what to exactly eat, but this journey has been much more rewarding than that.

With biweekly talks, we were able to go very in depth about various defeating thoughts I have with food and even other aspects of my life that directly correlate to my emotional eating/disordered eating patterns. I no longer dread “healthy foods” or see it as an “all or nothing approach.” In fact, I am able to identify what foods make me feel worse in terms of energy, mood, digestion and what foods are better for me and that is something that is much more sustainable than solely focusing on numbers as I intended to do in the beginning. I also struggle with PMDD/irregular and painful periods, and I feel much more regulated and equipped to deal with my PMS. Also, it helped knowing that I was held accountable by her and having regular check-ins helped a ton, especially when you do face an inevitable challenge or setback.

I really think if you are wanting to make a real, lasting impactful change on your relationship with food, and are prepared to be vulnerable, you should seek out Amanda. I am sure we can all seek out well meaning advice from health professionals, but Amanda is someone who allowed me to be vulnerable and truly felt she understood my struggles and could sympathize with them. If this sounds kind of like therapy, it’s because it was in some respects and was definitely more than giving you a meal plan and telling you to “suck it up.” I am so excited about the new perspective and tools I have and am only beginning to see the real lasting changes I have made.”

Are you ready to get started? Read more about my services, here!

Is Oat Milk Healthy or Stealthy?

Dairy free milk alternatives are quickly gaining traction in the health community. While nut milk has been around for years, other milk alternatives, like oat milk, are now becoming increasingly popular. While some options are “healthier” than others, how do we know which ones are healthy or stealthy? 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more often than not, oat milk is a stealthy substitute. Despite common belief, this milk alternative is not the healthiest option available. But, why?

 

Why Oat Milk isn’t Necessarily Healthy

Sure, most oat milks are free of dairy, gluten, and sugar, but many are packed with ingredients that are anything-but-nutritious. And there is one highly inflammatory ingredient that stands out above the rest: canola oil. First and foremost, canola oil is a genetically modified product. It’s a man-made replacement for natural oils, like olive or coconut. This hydrogenated oil is known to increase overall inflammation, which only hinders health. The negative health effects of canola oil are endless, but the short list includes: increased risk of heart disease, liver toxicity, and chronic inflammation. 

Additionally, most oat milk products contain various filler ingredients, like preservatives, gums, additives, artificial sweeteners, and binders. For example, dipotassium phosphate is an inorganic emulsifier that has been shown to be a health hazard.  Gums and artificial sweeteners are known to be hard on the digestive system, causing GI distress, such as stomach pains, diarrhea, and bloating.

To take it a step further, I have yet to find an oat milk made from organic and sprouted ingredients, which is of the utmost importance. Sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds offer nutrients that are increasingly available to the body. When sprouting takes place, anti-nutrients, like phytic acid, are broken down and nutrients are easier to absorb and digest. Grains, nuts, and seeds that are not organic or sprouted can be difficult to digest and absorb any of the beneficial nutrients, like omega fatty acids, zinc, and magnesium. 

 

Healthy Milk Alternatives

Even though oat milk might not be the most nutritious option, there are many other alternatives: 

Raw Milk

If you can tolerate it, raw milk, this is the preferable option. Raw milk, as opposed to pasteurized milk, is unpasteurized. Meaning, it still contains beneficial bacteria and nutrients that processed milk does not. I highly recommend looking for local, raw milk in your area through the Real Milk website. 

Malk

The brand, Malk, is leaps and bounds ahead of any other dairy-free milk alternative. If you need proof, just check out the ingredient list. It’s short and sweet- at most, containing 6 ingredients. These ingredients include nutrient-dense ones, like sprouted nuts, filtered water, vanilla beans, and Himalayan salt. 

Homemade Nut Milk

When all else fails, making your own dairy-free milk is an excellent option. It may sound intimidating, but I’m here to reassure you that it’s easier than you think. The Wellness Mama provides an easy-to-follow recipe for homemade almond milk. Be sure to use organic almonds, filtered water, and sea salt for the most nutritious milk!

 

At the end of the day, it’s important to read the ingredient list on all food products and milk is no exception. Even seemingly “healthy,” dairy free milk may be deceiving. Remember: the shorter the ingredient list, the better. And it’s important to stick to milks that don’t contain filler ingredients, like the ones listed above.

What’s your favorite milk alternative? Have you tried making your own?

 

Non-Toxic Cookware 101

There are many common cookware products that can potentially harm your health. In a time when health is of the utmost importance, there are several safe, effective, and non-toxic cookware alternatives!

With the arrival of COVID-19, we’re all out of our normal routines. Life as we knew it has ceased for the time being. One challenge we’re faced with right now, amongst many others, is home cooking. While some of us may be used to cooking at home daily, it’s a new practice for others. And what better time to learn the healthiest cooking practices than during this time of quarantine and social distancing?

First things first: when it comes to fat loss and gut health (my areas of specialty), eating real, whole, natural foods is always the top priority. Honestly, this is your straight shot to success. However, once eating real food becomes a daily habit, we shift our focus to food quality, and lastly, food quantity. Then, come the lifestyle changes, including sleep quality and quantity, stress management, toxin exposure, and more. If you want to learn more about the most effective dietary and lifestyle practices to implement during this quarantine, you can download my FREE ebook, “The Self-Quarantine Guide!

As you can see, adopting diet and lifestyle changes can drastically improve your health. However, with the sudden increase of home-cooked meals, I want to zero in on a lifestyle change that is essential during quarantine: the type of cookware you use.

 

The Hidden Dangers of Toxic Cookware 

It may come as a surprise to some of you to learn that the type of cookware you use on a daily basis has the potential to hinder or support your health. There are multiple cookware items found today that seem convenient and harmless, but they might be negatively affecting your health in more ways than one. Let’s take a look!

These cookware tools are the most common, yet also the most dangerous. Do your best to avoid these at all costs:

Non-Stick & Teflon

Non-stick and Teflon pans are, without a doubt, the most popular cooking tools. Obviously, they’re convenient and easy-to-use, as they prevent food from sticking while it cooks. However, these materials also contain PFC’s (poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances) – toxic chemicals known to disrupt hormone regulation and potentially cause thyroid problems.

Aluminum

Aluminum, once again, serves as a convenient cooking option. It’s what our grandmothers used to cook with because it’s lightweight and easy to use and clean. It’s also widely used for parties and catered events as disposable cookware – yes, this includes aluminum foil. But, guess what? The aluminum easily leaches into the food it contains. Although seemingly harmless, the consumption of aluminum has been connected to health conditions, like Alzheimers and other neurological issues.

Non-Toxic Cookware 101

The Better Non-Toxic Cookware

GreenPan

GreenPan, made from a non-stick ceramic material seems to be a great alternative to Teflon. The material used is said to be free of chemical toxins.  I’m still a bit hesitant (although I do use these from time to time) because testing is limited.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset is made from stainless steel and enamel. It’s definitely one of the safer options, but some sources do say that there is the potential of lead and cadmium leaching into your food.

 

The Safest Non-Toxic Cookware 

The Always Pan

I recently discovered the Always Pan, which has quickly become my favorite cookware set. Made with an aluminum base, this pan is coated with a non-stick ceramic material that is free of PTFE- and PFAS. When taken care of properly, the Always Pan is one of the healthiest and most convenient cooking tools. Bonus: it’s the perfect size and shape to do the work of eight different cookware pieces. The Always Pan includes a nesting stainless steel steamer basket, modular lid, and nesting spatula (finished with natural mineral oil).

Cast Iron

A cast iron skillet is easily one of the most versatile, yet traditional cooking tools available.  It can be used on the stovetop or in the oven. Keeping it correctly seasoned and well-cared for may seem high maintenance, but it’s well worth it. However, it’s important to note that a cast iron pan is not a great option for those who have high iron levels or are at risk for iron overload.

Stainless Steel

Lastly, a stainless steel pan is another safe, non-toxic cooking tool. These pans are affordable and readily available. Unfortunately, they are not non-stick, which is a major downside.

As you can see, there are many safer, healthier, non-toxic cookware alternatives. By easily switching out your aluminum and/or Teflon pans, you can help ensure your family’s health while you enjoy many home cooked meals!

The Truth About Heart Disease

Based on the book “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth,” by dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

 

Is everything we think we know about heart health wrong? It just might be. For starters, the belief that saturated fat causes heart disease is wrong, based on recent research and publications. Unfortunately, the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease has been ingrained in our brains for so many years that it seems almost impossible to convince people otherwise. Yet, I’m going to try. 

The Truth About Heart Health

 

Is Saturated Fat to Blame?

Case and point: let’s talk about the “diet-heart hypothesis” proposed by Ancel Keys in 1953. This hypothesis led us to believe that low fat and low cholesterol diets were the answer to preventing heart disease. Keys’ infamous diagram showed the correlation between fat consumption and mortality from heart disease. While he studied 22 countries, only 6 of these countries were included in the diagram. Ironically, these 6 countries were the only ones that “proved” his theory. Interestingly, the same correlation doesn’t exist when the remaining countries are added. 

So, if this correlation is false, why are doctors still telling you to avoid fat and cholesterol? Shouldn’t they know better? Disappointingly, the research and information doctors receive is from the same source as the general public: drug companies. At the end of the day, the health industry is a game of politics and drug companies will do whatever it takes to make a dollar (or millions).

Despite the influence of drug companies on the health industry, the evidence is very clear: saturated fat does not cause heart disease. I won’t bore you with the science, but here are a couple of notable studies: 

  • Since WWII, the Japanese have been eating more and more animal fat, yet fewer and fewer of them die from heart attacks. Actually, mortality from most diseases decreased in Japan as they ate more animal fat. 
  • In the USA between 1930 and 1960, mortality from heart disease increased 10 times, while the consumption of animal fat decreased. 
  • Dozens of studies conducted in different countries show that people with heart disease eat the same amount of fat and cholesterol as people without any heart disease. The studies do show, however, that eating vegetable oils and margarine is strongly associated with heart disease. 
  • Many studies show that in old age, cholesterol is protective. 

 

The Health Benefits of Cholesterol 

Did you know that cholesterol found in foods has virtually no effect on our blood cholesterol levels? It may be shocking, but it’s the truth. In fact, humans cannot live without cholesterol. Cholesterol is vital to our cell membranes by making the walls of the cell firm and helping to communicate with other cells. Cholesterol protects us from infections, memory loss, and many diseases, like multiple sclerosis and other nervous system diseases. We need cholesterol to produce hormones, regulate our metabolism, energy production, mineral assimilation, and muscle, bone and brain formation. It is an important part of bile production, necessary for absorbing fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamin D, which most of us are deficient in. Recent research also shows eating full-cream dairy products can cure infertility in women. 

Low levels of blood cholesterol has been repeatedly recorded in criminals who have committed murder and other violent crimes, people prone to suicide, people with aggressive social behavior and those with low self-control. Clearly, cholesterol is not only essential for our physical health, but also our mental health.  

Arguably, the most important function of cholesterol is it’s healing properties. Cholesterol is sent to any area of damage or inflammation to begin repair. Healing involves the birth, growth, and functioning of the immune system and other cells that are made out of cholesterol and fats. So, when a blood test finds high cholesterol, we must look at what is causing damage to the body. While atherosclerosis is purely an inflammatory condition, cholesterol is often blamed as the cause- simply because it is found at the site of the crime. 

Causes of Inflammation in the Body

If cholesterol is a response to inflammation in the body, what is the root cause of inflammation?

 

  • Man-made chemicals, like personal care products, cleaning chemicals, detergents, prescriptions, over the counter drugs. 
  • Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke 
  • Industrial pollution 
  • Pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers 
  • Tap water containing chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, and other contaminants 
  • Processed foods 
  • Various infectious microbes 
  • Gut dysbiosis 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Lack of sun exposure 
  • Sedentary lifestyle and habits
  • Excessive stress 
  • Free radicals 
  • Electromagnetic Pollution 
  • Radiation 

 

In a healthy body, after any injury or increased inflammation, cholesterol is sent to the scene to help the body repair itself. However, in the case of atherosclerosis, inflammation never stops. Why is this? 

Metabolic Syndrome. 

Metabolic Syndrome is defined as a cluster of health conditions that occur together, like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This increasingly common disease is due to our overconsumption of processed carbohydrates and high levels of glucose/insulin. As a result, inflammation increases and leads to atherosclerosis. Truthfully, heart disease was basically nonexistent before the invention of processed foods. 

How to Prevent Heart Disease

Given the increasing presence of heart disease in today’s society, what steps can we take to prevent this dangerous condition?

 

  • Stop eating processed foods, including breakfast cereals, wheat, processed sugar and salt, trans fats (vegetable oils), and soy. 
  • Eat fresh nature-made foods, traditionally-prepared: 
    • Fatty meats (avoid lean meats) and high-cholesterol and pro-healing foods, like: 
      • Animal brains 
      • Organ meats 
      • Caviar 
      • Cod Liver Oil 
      • Fresh egg yolk 
      • Butter 
      • Cold-water fish and shellfish 
      • Lard 
      • Meat and bone-stock 
    • Fish & shellfish 
    • Fresh fruit 
    • Raw, organic dairy 
    • Unprocessed nuts/seeds 
    • Soaked/sprouted beans/lentils 
    • Natural fats 
    • Fermented/sprouted, whole, unprocessed grains 
    • Unprocessed honey and dried fruit 
    • Fermented foods 
    • Freshly-pressed fruit and vegetable juices 
  • Stop polluting our bodies with man-made chemicals, like house-cleaning products, cosmetics, herbicides, pollutants, and more. 

Fundamentally, our bodies are miraculous creations that heal and repair themselves, as long as we allow them to do so. When our bodies become ill from polluting ourselves with chemicals, processed foods, and unnatural lifestyle habits, it becomes inflamed. Consequently, it calls for help with signals of pain, stiffness, and unpleasant digestive symptoms. Instead of supporting our bodies with what it needs to heal, we turn to prescription drugs to stop the pain, which only silences the body’s cry for help. 

What would happen if we started treating the root cause of inflammation, instead of simply masking symptoms? I’m willing to bet heart disease and inflammation would actually start to decrease, and as a result, our society, as a whole, would gain a better quality of life. 

If you’re looking for help to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health, I would love to chat with you. Book a free discovery call, here!

 

THE PERFECT WELLNESS GETAWAY

In March, I saw that Getaway House was opening an outpost in Big Bear – just a short drive from Los Angeles.  I excitedly reached out to them to partner up!  For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know I love a weekend getaway.  I used to have all of the excuses why I couldn’t take a night or two away.  I didn’t have the money.  I can’t afford to take the time off.  I have too much to do.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

 

Getaway House, Big Bear

 

I stopped the excuses and I started making weekend getaways (and even one-night staycations) a part of my regular routine.  Wellness isn’t just eating well and working out, it’s also taking care of yourself – mentally and emotionally.  For me, that looks like taking a night or two out of the city, to give myself some space to breath and think without dishes to be done or emails to be sent.  It always leaves me so relaxed and recharged, and I come back home inspired and more productive than ever.  Weekends away, albeit indirectly, always give me back way more than I spend.

When I booked my stay at Getaway House for November, I didn’t realize I would be knee-deep in school work and about to embark on a trip to Barcelona on top of my already hectic client schedule.  As this weekend approached, and my to-do list was getting longer by the second, I thought “I should reschedule.”  Why is it so easy for us to take care of everyone and everything else, but so hard to take care of ourselves?

 

Getaway House, Big Bear

 

As you would have guessed, I am so glad I went!  It was the most magical, most relaxing, and coziest weekend I’ve had in a very long time!  The moment I arrived at Getaway House, I felt a rush of relaxation roll over me.  Bye, bye cortisol!

The tiny cabins are nestled away in the woods of Big Bear – spread out enough to have peace and quiet, but close enough to feel safe!  Each cabin has 1-2 queen beds, a kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower, a heater, an AC unit, fresh linens, and bath products to use.  I had everything I needed.  There’s even an outdoor area with a grill and a fire pit for making s’mores!  Gluten-free and gut-friendly, of course!

I stopped at Sprouts on my way there and picked up some food for my stay.  There’s a couple of restaurants nearby, but I wanted to stay in and keep it extra cozy.  Here’s what I picked up:  pasture-raised eggs, 100% grass-fed meats, raw milk, mushroom coffee, sweet potatoes, sheep’s milk yogurt, and chocolate, of course!

 

Getaway House, Big Bear

 

According to my Oura Ring (and the way I felt when I woke up), I slept better there than I have all year.  Nature, fresh air, and the coziest bed and cabin will do that!  I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise every morning, and watched the sunset every evening from my bed.  I brought two books with me to read (why can’t I just chill?!), but I actually found myself enjoying the view and letting my mind wander most of the time.  Any place that can make me stop doing is magical, in my opinion!

I forced myself out of bed on Saturday afternoon to do some adventuring.  I explored some of the nearby stores and markets, and hiked one of the many trails in Big Bear.  There’s a cute lookout tower at the top of Keller Peak where you get an incredible view!  I highly recommend, if you can pry yourself out of the cabin.

 

Keller Peak, Big Bear

 

I seriously had the most incredible time.  It was the most relaxed I’ve been in as long as I can remember.  Weekend getaways, especially to somewhere as tranquil as Getaway House, are so necessary when you’re always go-go-go.  I don’t know about you, but stress has just become a part of my everyday life.  It’s the norm.  I always preach to my clients that stress can cause us to have gut issues and hold onto extra weight, so I do my best to follow my own advice.  Since I’ve been back, I’m trying to keep a piece of Getaway House with me, even if it’s just slowing down for a moment each day.

I’ll definitely be booking another weekend at Getaway House real soon!  They have outposts all over the US.  As of right now, you can escape from Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Pittsburgh + Cleveland, Portland, and Washington, DC.

Use the code AMANDAC for $25 off your stay!

IS YOUR SHOWER MAKING YOU FAT & SICK?

My motto for drinking water has always been “You can either use a filter or be a filter.” When I can’t source this blog post I wrote on the dangers of drinking unfiltered tap water and the raw spring water I can’t live without.  Until pretty recently, I thought that I had my water bases covered, until I started researching how detrimental showering in unfiltered water could be.

According to the EWG, 250 different contaminants were found in the U.S.’s tap water, 93 of which are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.  Not only that, but these contaminants are disruptive to your hormones, immune system, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system.  Yikes!

 

 

FILTERING YOUR SHOWER WATER IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN FILTERING YOUR DRINKING WATER

Filtering your shower water is even more important than filtering your drinking water, because the warm water opens up your pores, making it quicker to absorb these chemicals through your skin and into your bloodstream.  Not only are you absorbing them, but you’re also inhaling them.  The combination of the warm air and water opens up your lungs and allows for accelerated inhalation and absorption of these chemicals.   A 10-minute shower is equivalent to ingesting 2 liters of that same water!

 

CHLORINE’S AFFECT ON YOUR SKIN, DIGESTION, & CANCER RISK

Remember when chlorine was used as a chemical weapon in World War II?  Yeah, me neither, but it was, and now it’s in our water supply.  WTF!?  Chlorine in unfiltered tap water disrupts the skin’s microbiome.  Yes, chlorine can kill pathogens and bacteria in the water, but it’s also killing all the good bacteria on your skin’s surface, leading to skin issues including acne, eczema, and dry skin.   Think your skin is fine?  How about your digestive system? Chlorine also kills off the beneficial bacteria in our guts, which is responsible for everything from your mood to how your brain functions.

Here’s an excerpt from the Global Healing Center:

“There is a lot of well founded concern about chlorine. When chlorine is added to our water, it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes (chlorination byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts trigger the production of free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic. “Although concentrations of these carcinogens (THMs) are low, it is precisely these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States.”

Simply stated chlorine is a pesticide, as defined by the U.S. EPA, who’s sole purpose is to kill living organisms. When we consume water containing chlorine, it kills some part of us, destroying cells and tissue inside our body. Dr. Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher who’s work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up by claiming , “the chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution”, and adds that “chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!”

Breast cancer, which now effects one in every eight women in North America, has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of it’s kind in North America, found that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”

 

CHLORAMINE’S AFFECT ON OUR HEALTH

Another common chemical found in tap water is chloramine (a mixture of chlorine and ammonia) that has, not only been linked to skin problems, but also a weakened immune system, respiratory issues, digestive problems, and is extremely detrimental to those with kidney issues.  Most shower filters don’t filter chloramines out, so be sure to check for this when choosing a filter.

This is scary stuff, and it’s information we can longer ignore!  We can’t protect ourselves from all the pollutants and chemicals in our environments, but I think it’s really important to protect ourselves where we can.  Using a shower filter is a simple and fairly inexpensive switch you can make that can makes a massive difference in your health.

 

THE SOLUTION

I love and use the Omica Shower Filter.  It’ s hand-crafted, and uses an 8-stage filtration system that removes chloramine, chlorine, and reduces lead, VOCs, dirt, and odors.  If you’re bathing your children or taking your own baths, make sure to use the shower faucet to fill up the bath or buy the Bath and Shower Filter from Omica that removes both fluoride and chlorine.  You can use the links above to get 10% off of either of these filters.

 

Do you use a shower filter?  Have you noticed a difference?

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LESSONS IN WELLNESS FROM TONY ROBBINS

Last weekend I attended the Tony Robbin’s Unleash Your Power Within conference in San Jose, CA, along with 12,000 other people.  This was my first Tony Robbins conference, and I had no idea what to expect.  Going into it, I was nervous, excited, and terrified all at the same time, and I came out of it feeling inspired, motivated, and most importantly, free. Even now, a week later, I feel more free than I’ve ever felt in my whole life.  I feel the freedom to completely be myself, speak from my heart, and love unconditionally.  I’m also feeling (mostly) free from all of my old limiting beliefs that were holding me back from achieving what I want in life.

 

It’s challenging to describe exactly what went down in the 4 days I was there, but there was a lot of tears, jumping around, dancing, hugs, and laughter with strangers.  Oh, and yeah, I walked on fire!!!  The most important lesson I took away from the weekend is that we all have the power to create our dream lives and it all begins with what we put our focus on and staying in “peak state” using physiology.  The only thing holding us back is ourselves.

 

Tony shared so many gems, and I couldn’t help but see how all of his teachings relate to our own wellness journeys:

 

EXECUTION TRUMPS KNOWLEDGE.

Knowledge is not power…it’s potential power.  You can read all of the books, blogs and Instagram captions about diet plans, exercise programs, wellness, and self-love, but the power comes only when you actually execute those plans.

 

IN ORDER TO GROW, YOU MUST GET UNCOMFORTABLE.

The obvious link here is exercise.  In order to get muscle to grow, you have to stress it.  If you’re in the gym doing the same things day in and day out, and not challenging yourself, you’re not getting stronger.  Movement and exercise play a huge role in Tony’s teachings. In just getting moving, you have to power to change your state!

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GOAL, IT’S ABOUT WHAT THE GOAL WILL GIVE YOU.

So many of my clients come to me with a weight loss goal, but what they really want is beyond that –  joy, confidence, energy and vitality for life.  And the truth is, they can access those feelings with or without the weight loss.  Seeking those feelings instead of the weight loss leads them to make better overall healthy choices.  And 9 times out of 10, if we choose to live our life in that way, the weight suddenly falls off.

 

WE GET WHAT WE TOLERATE.

This obviously holds true for all areas of life, but especially when it comes to our health.  If we’re overweight, lethargic, not working out, and eating unhealthy foods, we’re doing that because that’s what we’re choosing to tolerate.  But if we make the decision to no longer tolerate that, then there is no longer a choice about how to live our lives.  Raise your standards!

 

THE 2 MILLIMETER RULE.

Tony uses the metaphor of golf, but I like the metaphor of two boats sailing the sea.  Both boats are sailing in the same direction, but one of the boats makes a slight 2 millimeter turn.  You might not be able to notice the very small directional change in the beginning, but eventually the boats will be so far away from each other.  Small changes over time make a big difference.  Don’t underestimate them.

 

TURN YOUR SHOULDS INTO MUSTS.

Turn all of the shoulds (work out, eat healthier, meditate) in your life into musts.  A should never gets done, but the second you make the decision that you MUST do something, you will find a way to make it work no matter what.

 

UNCOVER AND CHANGE YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS.

Whether we know it or not, we all have limiting beliefs that are stopping us from getting to our health goals.  Tony says that we don’t get what we want, we get what we believe we are.  Some common limiting beliefs are:  I’m big-boned, I have to eat 3 meals a day, I can’t lose weight, I’ve tried everything, I’m not strong enough, I don’t have time, I’m too old, I have too much going on right now, I need more protein, I can’t survive on salads, I have no energy because of this or that chronic illness, etc.  If we can uncover which beliefs we’re holding onto, we can change them to a more empowering belief that will support and help us achieve our goals.

IF YOU WANT TO CREATE SOMETHING, OBSESS OVER IT.

Think about the last time you accomplished something you’re proud of.  Chances are you became completely committed and obsessed with it, leading you to take massive action to get to it.  Become obsessed with your health, your workouts, your clean eating, and I guarantee you’ll reach your goals in no time.

 

GET THE BEST COACHING.

Sure you can teach yourself how to get to where you want to goal, but in hiring a coach, you’ll get there 10x quicker!  Remember, I am always here if you want to hire your own wellness coach.  I hired my own health coach in 2017 and it was worth every penny, and I’m currently in the process of hiring a business coach this year.  Coaches are one of the best investments you can make!

 

FINAL WORDS.

Tony had a way of saying things that really resonated with me.  One thing he said on the first day of the conference was “You don’t need food for energy.  It’s your psychology that’s fucked up, and you’re trying to fill it with food.”  As someone who regularly practices fasting, I completely and whole-heartedly agree with this.

 

Did any of these lessons resonate with you?  Comment below and let me know!

MY FAVORITE NEW PLANT-BASED FINDS AT EXPO WEST 2018

Natural Products Expo West was this past weekend.  It’s the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event, where brands release their new products and product lines.  It’s a jam packed weekend full of free samples, networking, snacking, snapping photos/videos and blisters…so many blisters!  For a Natural Products Expo, there sure was a ton of junk food being disguised as health food.  Like 99% of it – no joke!  Foods filled with canola oil, cane sugar, gluten, additives, preservatives, and gums.  I’m the one at these things flipping over boxes, asking for the ingredient list, and scanning for anything suspect.  I asked the brands a million questions, like “Is this organic?  Are the nuts sprouted?  How are those mushrooms extracted?”  And when all of the answers matched what I wanted to hear, I stuck around, talked to the founders, and taste-tested a bite (or two!).

There were a number of companies there that I already love and rave about, but I wanted to share some new brands and products that you will be hearing a lot more about in the coming months.  Before I get into it, I do have one caveat.  My diet is mainly comprised of fresh, mostly raw, some cooked vegetables, but sometimes a girl needs a snack-y food, some chocolate, or a bit of a nut-based spread.

So, here were my favorite new finds this year:

Michelle’s RawFoodz Dips

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Hemp Seeds, Nutritional Yeast, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Onion Powder, Sea Salt, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Minced Garlic, Organic White Chia Seeds, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Dill

Miyoko’s Cultured Cream Cheese

photo courtesy of Miyoko’s

Ingredients:  Organic Cashews, Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Cream, Organic Green Onions, Sea Salt, Cultures, Organic White Pepper

Vivoo Organic Raw Chocolate Bars

Ingredients:  Organic Raw Cacao Mass, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Siberian Pine Nuts, Organic Raw Cacao Butter, Organic Reishi

Healthy Crunch Kale Chips

Ingredients:  Organic Kale, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Cucumber, Organic Lemon Juice, Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Dill Weed, Himalayan Salt

Sprout Living Drinkable Oats

Ingredients (all organic):  Gluten Free Oat Flour, Pea Protein, Coconut Crystals, Heirloom Red Banana, Matcha Blend (Matcha, Lucuma, Maca Root, Spirulina), Sunflower Seed Protein, Pumpkin Seed Protein, Golden Flaxseed, Whole Food Vitamins & Minerals (Guava, Lemon, Sesbania, Amla, Holy Basil, Annatto), Sea Buckthorn, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, White Mushroom, Stevia Leaf

 

Look out for these products either online or hitting the shelves soon! 

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HIGH-QUALITY & PASTURE-RAISED MEAT

I gave up eating meat in late 2009, not for any moral or ethical reason, but because it just started to gross me out.  I guess my decision to stop eating meat was more for health reasons than anything.  The more I read about veganism, the more I began to believe that the human body is not designed to digest animal protein.  Not only that, but learning about all of the hormones and antibiotics animals are fed made me give it up cold-turkey (no pun intended).  I would still eat the occasional piece of fish or raw goat cheese, but I considered myself “vegan-ish.”  I really thrived off a plant-based diet.  Because animal protein is much harder to digest, I had all that extra digestive energy to use.

 

photo courtesy of Primal Pastures via Instagram

 

But then a few months ago, I started craving meat again, so I gave in here and there.  Some days I can’t get enough meat, and other days I feel grossed out by it again.  I’m listening to my body!  And most recently, because I’m dealing with some gut issues (SIBO – more on this another time!), meat is one of the only foods I can handle.  I still am eating a mostly plant-based diet, but I do want to make sure that the animal protein I am eating is of the highest-quality – organic, pasture-raised, free of hormones/antibiotics/drugs, and fed it’s natural diet.

 

photo courtesy of Primal Pastures via Instagram

WHY?

  • To avoid harmful toxins, antibiotics, hormones and other drugs that can disrupt your hormones and immune system, and put you at higher risk for cancer and heart disease.
  • Pasture-raised animals are lower in overall fat, lower in Omega-6 fats, higher in Omega-3 fats, and higher in CLA – making them more heart-healthy.
  • Higher in vitamins and minerals.
  • Decreased risk of food poisoning.
  • Better for the environment, because it decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

I’ve compiled a list of a few companies that I love and trust, that I’ve been sourcing my meats from.  Not only do I trust that I’m getting the healthiest meats around, but they taste so much better than anything you’d pick up at the grocery store.

 

photo courtesy of Primal Pastures via Instagram

US WELLNESS MEATS

US Wellness Meats has a wide range of grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, duck, organ meats, wild seafood, bone broths, fats, and even snacks.  I recently ordered a whole chicken, chicken gizzards, beef liver, and bone broth from them, and everything was delicious!

PRIMAL PASTURES

I first found this company on Instagram, where I saw their animals roaming around, looking so happy and free!  You can also take a tour of their farm, in California.  A wide range of meats, organ meats, and broths, as well.

BUTCHER BOX

This company creates a curated box of high-quality beef, chicken, or pork.  They also give you the option to customize, which is great!  Last year, I bought a box for my sister and her husband, who loved it!

 

Do you eat meat?  Where do you buy your animal products from?

 

 

 

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