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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!

WHY I ONLY DRINK MUSHROOM COFFEE (AND OTHER MUSHROOMS!)

If you’ve been following me for a while now, then you already know my obsession with mushrooms.  I’m not kidding when I tell you I drink mushrooms for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I’m actually drinking some right now (no surprise!).  And for good reason. Mushrooms are some of the most potent, powerful, health-promoting foods on the planet. They’re immune-boosting, cancer-fighting, and they’re high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  There is extensive research on the medicinal effects of mushrooms, but what really sold me and continues to sell me on drinking mushroom elixirs are how they make me feel.  I started drinking them over 2 years ago and after only a couple of weeks, I noticed incredible benefits, and now I’m hooked!

 

Now, these aren’t culinary mushrooms (although there’s some benefits to those) or psychedelic mushrooms (which may actually be beneficial too, but that’s for another blog post!).  The mushrooms I’m talking about here are medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi, cordyceps, or chaga, to name just a few.  These mushroom are inedible, but with an extraction process, we can extract all the health-promoting benefits out of them.

 

Before you brush this off as another “wellness trend,” let’s break down a few surprising facts about mushrooms.  First of all, the benefits mentioned here are all clinically proven, so let’s just get that out of the way.  Second of all, did you know that our DNA is very similar to the DNA of mushrooms?  More so than any other plant on the planet!  And lastly, many of the most popular pharmaceutical drugs utilize mushrooms (penicillin, for example!).  So, as usual, I’ll skip the side-effects of prescription medications and go the holistic, preventative route instead!

 

 

The wellness scene has been buzzing lately with all the medicinal mushrooms and adaptogenic herbs, but quality does matter here, which is why I love the company Four Sigmatic.  Four Sigmatic uses a dual-extraction method, utilizing a hot-water extract and an alcohol-extract.  Most companies only use a water-extract, which is great, but it leaves behind certain nutrients and benefits you can only get with alcohol-extraction.  All of their products are also organic, and most come in handy little single-serving packets, making it super easy for traveling or when on-the-go.

 

Since I started making these mushroom elixirs and tonics on my Instagram stories, I’ve gotten so many questions on why I take certain mushrooms and what the benefits are of each.  So, today I’m breaking down a few of my favorite Four Sigmatic products and when and why I take them.

 

MUSHROOM COFFEE WITH CHAGA & CORDYCEPS or LION’S MANE

 When do I take it?

  • Pre-workout.
  • In the morning.
  • When I need an energy boost.

Why do I take it?

  • Less caffeine that coffee (50 mg., which is about 1/2 cup of coffee).  Better for adrenal health!
  • Alkalizing mushrooms, to counteract the acidity in coffee.  If you become too acidic, your body will start to leach minerals from your bones!  If I’m having coffee out, I always bring a packet of mushrooms to mix into it, for this reason.
  • Caffeine is one of the best natural, pre-workout supplements.  It increases the activity of your central nervous system, which can lead to an increase in performance.  Caffeine also increases your body’s ability to burn fat (yessssssss!).
  • Coffee is one of the most pesticide-ridden crops with high levels of mycotoxins (mold toxins), but Four Sigmatic is organic and mycotoxin-free.  Every batch is tested!

I drink the Mushroom Coffee with Cordyceps before working out or in the morning if I’ll be having an active day, and I drink the Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane in the morning if I need to get work done or if I need my brain to be “on.”   Also, Four Sigmatic also now carries a Mushroom Matcha, if you prefer matcha tea over coffee!

 

CORDYCEPS

When do I take it?

  • When I need an energy boost, without caffeine.
  • Pre-workout, always!  I usually drink the mushroom coffee with cordyceps, or just the cordyceps if I’ve already had enough caffeine. 
  • Anytime!

Why do I take it?

  • Increases oxygen uptake.
  • Prevents fatigue.
  • Prevents the buildup of lactic acid.
  • Increases aerobic capacity.
  • Increases cellular energy.

image of Four Sigmatic Elixirs

LION’S MANE

When do I take it?

  • Before writing, creative work, or studying.
  • When I need a little extra focus.
  • When I’ve been working out a lot or extra hard.
  • Anytime!

Why do I take it?

  • It’s a cognitive enhancer.
  • Stimulates the creation of new brain cells.
  • Protects and repairs the nervous system.
  • Anti-aging.  Decreases the risk for Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.

 

REISHI

When do I take it?

  • In the evening or before bed.
  • When I’m stressed or anxious.
  • Anytime!

Why do I take it?

  • Can prevent and inhibit cancer cell growth.
  • Promotes longevity.
  • Can lower blood pressure.
  • Cultivates spiritual energy.
  • Regulates the immune system.
  • Hormonally balancing.
  • It’s an adaptogen, so it intuitively works with your body to amp it up or slow it down, depending on what you need.
  • Decreases sleep latency and increases quality of sleep.

 

CHAGA

When do I take it?

Why do I take it?

  • Anti-viral (my personal flu shot).
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • One of the highest antioxidants substances.
  • Great for the eyes, skin, and hair!
  • Great for gut-health and digestive disorders.

 

I’m not going to tell you what to do, but you should definitely add 1 or all of these into your daily routine.  You can mix the elixirs in hot water, or create a blended tonic with them using some ghee, MCT oil, and a bit of stevia.  I like to add them into coffee, smoothies, baked goods, sauces, or soups.  I find the easiest way to get these in and make them part of your routine is to incorporate them into something you’re already doing.

These are a few of my favorites, but they also have a matcha, a hot cacao mix, superfood blends (my favorite for smoothies), or a sample pack if you want to just dip your toes in.  It’s best to take these on a regular basis, and rotate them based on what you feel your body needs most.

 

You can use this link and use the code RAWFITNESS10 to get 10% off your order!

 

Have any of you experimented with medicinal mushrooms?  What’s your favorite?  If you haven’t, which one do you want to try?  Any questions/comments about mushrooms?

LET’S TALK ANXIETY (+ my personal story)

I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember.  As a kid, my anxiety presented itself as stomach aches and a general feeling of being unwell.  I distinctly remember telling my mother that I didn’t know what was wrong but sometimes I just wanted to cry.  This was different from depression, although they usually do go hand in hand.  It wasn’t a sad, hopeless, joyless feeling, but more of an uncomfortable, panicked, want-to-jump-out of my-skin feeling.  I didn’t know how to label it at the time, but looking back, I’m 110% sure it was anxiety.  And honestly, it’s no surprise.  I grew up in a home where my nervous system was on high alert around the clock.  My late father was an alcoholic and physically-abusive to my mother.  My anxiety served me well then.  It protected me.  It allowed me to react quickly in emergency situations.  My anxiety kept me safe.

 

In some ways, my anxiety still does serve me well.  I’m extremely empathetic, which makes me a great friend and a great listener.   My compassion and intuitiveness is also what makes me a great health coach and a personal trainer.  Being highly aware of what or how other people are feeling has benefitted me in life and in relationships.  I’m grateful for it.

 

On the other hand, my anxiety hinders me in more ways than one.  It keeps me isolated.  It turns a perfectly great day into a fear-ridden rollercoaster of emotion.  It makes me irritable.  It robs me of hours in the day I can never get back.  It’s led me to self-destructive behaviors, like binge eating, lashing out, shutting down, and disengaging from others and/or life.

 

In my health coaching practice, I see so many people who struggle with this, as well.  Many of them are well aware of it, while others are unconscious of it, until we work together and begin to dig a little deeper.  They spend countless hours shopping, watching television, or playing video games.  They neglect their physical bodies by not exercising, oversleeping, binge eating or eating unhealthy foods.  This can be as small as reaching for a piece of chocolate when uncomfortable feelings begin to emerge.  These self-destructive habits may provide short-term relief, but can be extremely detrimental in the long-term.  I also see so many, mostly women and mothers, who sacrifice too much of themselves for their families and friends.  Seemingly innocent, but this is just another way to mask having to deal with their own feelings and really, truly take care of themselves.

 

Here are a few practices that have helped me over the years, and I hope they can help you too.

 

AVOIDING STIMULATING FOODS

It always starts with food, doesn’t it?  Avoiding or limiting stimulating foods, like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed carbohydrates, and starchy foods, in general, has been game-changing for me.  Keeping my energy and blood sugar as stable as possible, is essential in keeping anxiety at bay.

 

HEALING THE GUT

Most of the foods above, are also not great for gut-health.  Did you know that 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut?  How crazy!  Makes sense as to why I’ve always struggled with digestive issues, and why I’m also so passionate about improving gut-health.  Adding in gut-healing foods like bone broth, collagen, l-glutamine, and fermented foods can help alleviate some of those anxiety symptoms.

 

STAYING HYDRATED

Dehydration can also induce anxiety, since it’s a subtle threat to survival, so it’s really important to drink a ton of water.  I drink about 3-4 liters of water a day, and more if it’s a warmer time of the year or if I’ve been extra active.  The more water I drink, the better I feel.

 

MOVING

I am 100% sure that if exercise didn’t play such a massive role in my life, I’d be on medication.  Now, you do what’s best for you, but I, personally, am going to skip all the harmful side-effects that come along with taking any medication and instead choose all the benefits of exercise.  Exercise is my natural and free anti-anxiety medication.  It helps to lower cortisol and increase endorphins, which are two things my brain and my body really need.  Fitting in some HIIT training, running, sprints, or anything that gets my heart rate up immediately changes my entire mood.  Even just getting out on a walk for a few minutes can be extremely beneficial.

 

FEELING FEELINGS

Instead of running away or distracting myself from the feeling with destructive behaviors, I sit with it.  I get curious about it.  What does it feel like?  Where do I feel it?  I focus on my breath.  My heart rate.  I check in with every part of my body, starting from my head all the way down to my toes, to become as present as I possibly can.  Sometimes I do this for 2 minutes and the feeling fades.  Other times, it takes over an hour.  Eventually the feeling does fade, and in the process, I’ve learned something about myself, about the feeling, about how to manage.  It’s not easy.  It can sometimes be so intense, it feels impossible to sit with.  Daily meditation also helps me to become aware of the thoughts and feelings that trigger the anxiety.   Just taking the time to slow down and breathe has been extremely helpful to me, as I tend to over schedule and stress out, which definitely does not help.

 

JOURNALING

This is always the last thing I want to do when anxiety strikes, but it’s also been a great tool in pinpointing where the anxiety is stemming from.  I will free write for a few minutes and then all of a sudden, BOOM, there it is.  Becoming aware of what issues or situations in your life are causing you anxiety can help you move forward to alleviate them.

 

CONNECTING

When I’m feeling anxious, it can feel like a arduous chore to get out of the house and interact with other humans, but I force myself to.  Connecting with others can decrease anxiety and increase feelings of happiness and calmness.  Even if you can’t be with someone, pick up the phone and call someone.  I have a list of people that I love and who I can call to lift my mood, make me laugh, and calm me down.

 

THERAPY

If we never express or process the emotions from our childhood or even our adulthood, those emotions continue to bubble up inside us, like a boiling pot of water.  If we put a lid on that pot, by not dealing with those feelings, eventually, that pot of water will explode.  Anxiety, depression, physical pain, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart attacks, digestive disorders, reproductive issues, among many other health conditions can all be, and are usually, the result of this.  I’ve been going to therapy on a regular basis for the last 10 years, when life is rough and also when life is great.  It’s an absolute necessity for me, and it’s been instrumental in helping me work through and process my emotions.  It’s also helped me become more self-aware and deal with the highs and lows of life and relationships.

 

SUPPLEMENTS

Making sure I’m getting all of the above in, plus a very healthy, diverse, and nutrient-rich diet is fundamental to alleviating my anxiety.  That being said, I do take a few supplements to give me a little extra boost in calming my nervous system down.

 

Do you struggle with anxiety?  Do you know a friend that does?  Feel free to forward them this blog post.  What do you do to help?  I can always use a few extra tips!  

6 STEPS TO GETTING THE ‘GLOWIEST’ SKIN

Let me just start by saying I am not a dermatologist.  That’s my sister.  It’s always such a funny contrast when we start talking about skin.   I immediately wonder what someone has been eating or what their lifestyle is like.  My sister immediately goes to what they can put on their skin, what pill they can take, or which peel or laser treatment they should use.

While all of those might be beneficial for some people, I tend to prefer the holistic route.  While many of these treatments, pills, and topical creams do work, they often leave the skin without it’s natural bacteria and it’s first line of defense.  Not only that, but they can also lead to more acne, yeast infections, weight gain, depression, liver damage, and a depressed immune system.  No thank you!

I’ve received a few messages on Instagram recently asking me how I get my skin to look so “glowy.”  And my answer is always, “Filters!”  Just kidding.  The truth is, lately my skin has been looking better than ever, and I wanted to share a few practices that have really helped me.

  1.  AVOID INFLAMMATORY FOODS

    Diet is by far the most important!  Without it, everything else you do is almost pointless.  Avoiding corn, gluten, sugar, soy, factory farmed meat and dairy, canola and other vegetable oils is going to help tremendously.  I once had a client start seeing me who was really struggling with acne and was about to go on an intense prescription acne treatment, because nothing else was helping.  I asked her to hold off just a bit to see if we could make some progress with diet alone.   I’m not even kidding when I say that a few weeks later, almost all of her acne was gone.  That moment really solidified this point for me.

  2. EAT MORE NOURISHING FOODS

    If you’ve been following me for a while now, you know I am all about that gut health.  When your gut health is strong, everything else is strong, including your skin!  If your digestive system is not properly doing it’s job to rid your body of waste and toxins, they are going to be excreted through your skin (the largest organ in the body!).  Feed your gut lots of probiotic foods (fermented foods like kimchee, sauerkraut, coconut yogurt/kefir) and prebiotic foods (dandelion greens, raw jicama, green bananas, cooked then cooled starches, raw asparagus) to keep that gut healthy and populated with as many good bugs as possible.  I have also found organic, healthy fats and essential fatty acids to be especially nourishing to my skin.  These fats have made the most difference to my skin’s complexion and give me that extra ‘glow.’  Wild-caught salmon/sardines, pasture-raised meats/raw dairy, grass-fed ghee, sprouted nuts/seeds, coconut everything, and high-quality olive oil should be staples in your nourishing skin diet.  And don’t forget to drink high-quality spring water!

  3. CHANGE YOUR PILLOW CASE OFTEN

    Switch out your pillowcase at least once a week.  If you have acne-prone skin, change it every day or every other day.   Bacteria, oils, dirt, pollutants and product residue can build up on your pillowcase leading to acne and irritation.

  4. OIL CLEANSE YOUR FACE

    Seems counterintuitive to wash your face with oil, but ever since I started doing this, I get way less acne and redness (which I’m prone to).  Take an organic cotton round, spray it with toner and a few drops of an oil cleanser and wipe off any makeup, dirt, and oil, repeating this multiple times until there is absolutely no residue left on the cotton round (essential step!).  I try not to ever touch my face with a unwashed towel, which I used to do all of the time, before I realized that it’s a breeding ground for bacteria.  Do this first thing in the morning and right before bed.  I also do this right before I leave the gym.  Even if I wait 10-15 minutes until I get home, chances are the next day I’ll have a pretty little pimple (or two) as a consequence.

    (Side note on water:  Tap water contains over 316 chemicals, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and pesticides, that I want nowhere near my face, or any part of my skin, for that matter.  Use a water filter in your shower!)

  5. USE THE HIGHEST QUALITY PRODUCTS

    As mentioned above, many topical products (even the most expensive ones!) strip the skin of it’s natural moisture and bacteria, can be irritating, and can lead to even more skin issues long term.  They also probably contain toxic ingredients that can disrupt your hormones and can cause cancer.  I don’t care how good your skin looks, you’ll definitely wish you didn’t use them when you’ve been diagnosed with fertility issues or a life-threatening disease.  The only products I use on my skin right now are those from Living Libations.  I know there are other products that work great and are high-quality, but I’m obsessed and trust everything from Living Libations.  Their products are of the highest quality and extremely nourishing to the skin.  I use their Rose Glow Complexion Mist (as a toner), their Best Skin Ever as a cleanser and moisturizer, and their RoseGlow Serum for additional moisture before bed.  I also use their Zippity DewDab for those times I get a breakout.  I apply it a few times a day, and usually within 2-3 days, the breakout is completely gone.

  6. GET FACIALS OFTEN

    Last, but definitely not least, getting facials every 4-6 weeks has really upped my skin game.  I used to think facials weren’t a necessity, but now I realize they most definitely are.  I get monthly facials from Hayley, Therapeutic Skin Coach, who has an integrative approach to skin health.  She’s amazing and customizes treatments depending on your skin’s needs.  She does extractions (don’t ever self extract!),  LED light therapy to help stimulate collagen and to help with inflammation, and lymphatic massage (my favorite!).  If you’re not in the LA area and can’t see Hayley, find someone who also has an integrative, holistic approach!

I also supplement daily with a few mushrooms and superfoods that are amazing for skin health, but I’ll detail those at another time!

 

How is your skin health?  Did these tips help you?  Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?

4 REASONS YOU SHOULD TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING

What is all this chatter about intermittent fasting?  Maybe you’ve heard the term swirling around, read an article about it, or have even seen your favorite athlete or celebrity talk about it.  It seems like everyone these days (at least in LA and in the wellness community) is practicing some form of it.

What is it?  Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you limit your eating window to certain hours of the day.  A pattern of feasting and fasting, much like our ancestors naturally practiced.

 

Why should you try it?  These days we have access to food around the clock, whenever and wherever we want it, and that has shown to be extremely detrimental to our health.  When our bodies are constantly in a “fed” state, we don’t allow for the cellular and molecular repairs that can only happen when our body is in a “fasted” state.  Intermittent fasting is an extremely powerful tool, and here’s why:

 

  1. IT’S EASY & FREE.

    My favorite reason!  The best thing about intermittent fasting is it requires no extra time on your part, plus it will even save you money (music to an entrepreneur’s ears!).  Let’s just remember that nobody makes money from fasting, which is why it might not yet be a mainstream practice.  The concept of 3 meals a day was created as a means of convenience and ritual, and many food companies bank on that.  Doesn’t it just make more sense intuitively to eat when you’re hungry versus when the clock tells you to?   No planning, no cooking, and no cleaning.  And more time to enjoy life!

  2. YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT, WHILE ALSO MAINTAINING MUSCLE.

    If you are eating during a smaller window of time, chances are you’ll end up consuming less food overall, leading to weight loss.  Not only that, but contrary to popular belief, short-term fasting (less than 72 hours) will actually increase your metabolic rate.  This is due to a decrease in insulin and an increase in human growth hormone, signaling the body to burn stored fat and preserve muscle.  Add in some resistance training and you can even gain muscle, along with boosting all of the benefits listed here.

  3. ANTI-AGING & DISEASE PREVENTION.

    During intermittent fasting, a biological process called autophagy occurs.  Autophagy is basically the body’s way of removing all of the old, damaged, toxic cells and proteins.  This decelerates aging and leads to a decrease in conditions, such as Alzheimers, Huntington’s Disease, and cancer.  Intermittent fasting also lowers inflammation, and reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

  4. YOUR CRAVINGS WILL DIMINISH, DIGESTION WILL IMPROVE, AND ENERGY WILL SKYROCKET.

    It may take some time to adjust to this new pattern of eating, but once you do, your body will be burning fat for fuel instead of sugar.  You’ll find yourself with decreased hunger, and your cravings for processed foods and sugary treats will decrease.  When your body is not burdened with digesting food all day long, you will have all the energy you need to complete tasks and enjoy your life!

 

So, how do you do it?  Below are a few popular methods.  As a starting point, we should be fasting for at least 12 hours every day, from dinner to breakfast the next day.

  1. The 16/8 or 18/6 Method.  This method of fasting includes 16-18 hours of fasting and an eating period of 6-8 hours.  So, if you eat dinner at 8pm, you wouldn’t eat again until 12pm or 2pm,  just skipping breakfast.  Or you could also finish your last meal of the day by 4pm and then have breakfast at 8am or 10am.
  2. Fat-fasting.  Instead of skipping breakfast as above, this method just replaces breakfast with a “fat breakfast,” such as a Bulletproof coffee/tea (a drink made with grass-fed butter/ghee and MCT oil).  This is a great alternative for someone who finds skipping breakfast a challenge.
  3. 24-hour Fasting.  This method involves periodically (1-2x/week) fasting from dinner one day until dinner the next day.

 

Personally, because I’m not usually hungry for breakfast, I practice the 18/6 method most days, and occasionally I accidentally fast for 20-24 hours.  I can easily finish dinner by 4-5pm, and not eat again until 2pm the next day.  Given mornings and early afternoons are my busiest, fasting helps to keep my energy up during those times.  Find what feels best for you and do that!  On nights when you’re too tired or maybe not that hungry for dinner, skip it!  If you have a busy morning or don’t have an appetite for breakfast, skip it!

On a final note, this is not an invitation to eat whatever you want during the feeding window.  Intermittent fasting will be much more intuitive and enjoyable if you’re eating the right type of foods (whole, high-quality, and nutrient-dense), moving your body regularly (preferably resistance training), and managing your sleep and stress.

 

Have you experimented with intermittent fasting?  Has it worked for you?  Let me know your thoughts!

 

THE HEALTHIEST CARAMEL ICE CREAM RECIPE (SUGAR-FREE, NUT-FREE, VEGAN, KETO)

Summer’s almost over, but I’m still eating all of the ice cream.  I even eat it for dinner some nights, because #YOLO.  I’m a big proponent for intuitive eating, and sometimes you just intuitively want ice cream.  And guess what?  You can have it!  It’s better than eating a whole meal and then also eating ice cream after, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.  Not only that, but you can indulge in this caramel ice cream guilt-free, because it is so healthy and nutrient-dense!

Coconut Butter

The base of this ice cream is my favorite superfood, coconut butter.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you already know my obsession.  I eat this stuff straight out of the jar.  Coconut butter is not to be confused with coconut spread, that is often found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  Coconut butter (or sometimes called coconut manna) is made only from the meat of the coconut and you can find it in the coconut oil section.  The meat is dehydrated and pureed into a “butter.”  A few of it’s standout benefits include:

  • Increased calorie burn and energy.  Since coconut butter is a MCT (medium-chain triglyceride), it’s burned up for energy instead of being stored in your body (win!).
  • Boosts immunity and fights viral infections.  It contains lauric acid, which is powerful in boosting immunity and fighting viral infections, like the common cold, the flu, and even cold sores and herpes.
  • Improved digestion and regularity.  Because of it’s high-fiber content, coconut butter can help control your blood sugar levels, keep you regular and also lower cholesterol.

Lucuma Powder

Lucuma is a super nutritious subtropical fruit native to Peru, that tastes somewhat like caramel.  Here in the States, it can be easily found in most health food stores in powered form.  It’s a perfect addition to this ice cream because of it’s naturally sweet caramel taste and it’s many health benefits, including:

  • Supporting skin health
  • Improving digestion
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • High in antioxidants

Tocos 

Adding creaminess and even more health benefits to this already highly-nutritious ice cream is Tocos, short for Tocotrienols.  Tocos is derived from rice bran, and despite containing a wide range of vitamins and trace minerals, it tastes like pure milky goodness.  Studies have revealed Tocos potential in treating certain types of cancers, as well as a few other remarkable benefits, such as:

  • High bio-available Vitamin E, promoting healthy skin and connective tissues
  • Helps remove toxins from the body
  • Improves blood glucose
  • May decrease cholesterol, reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke

Reishi

One of my favorite medicinal mushrooms, I had to include this one for it’s calming and relaxation benefits.  Especially great if you’re having this ice cream in the evening or if you’re a highly-anxious person (like me!).  Reishi is considered an adaptogenic mushroom, which means it helps the body restore and maintain it’s balance and deal with the negative effects of stress.  Helping to strengthen the body’s immune system, Reishi protects against numerous diseases and illnesses, including:

  • Tumor growth & cancer
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies & asthma
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Viruses & infections

Lakanto

Now, this wouldn’t be the healthiest ice cream ever if I just went ahead and added a ton of sweetener.  Yes, I could have used  a minimal amount of maple syrup or even honey, which are great alternatives to refined sugar, and can be very beneficial.  But I wanted to keep this one sugar-free, for those dealing with candida, inflammation, diabetes, digestive issues, skin issues, or just general sugar cravings.  The less sugar you eat, the less sugar you crave.  Lakanto is a monk-fruit based sweetener that not only has no effect on blood sugar but is also extremely high in antioxidants!

 

 

THE HEALTHIEST CARAMEL ICE CREAM RECIPE (FRUIT-FREE, SUGAR-FREE, NUT-FREE, PALEO, KETO)
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Extremely easy caramel-flavored sugar-free ice cream. No ice cream maker required.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 18 ice cubes
  • 4 tbsp coconut butter
  • 4 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 2 tbsp tocos
  • 2 packets Reishi (optional)
  • 4 tbsp Lakanto Sweetener - Golden
Instructions
  1. Pull the ice tray out of the freezer to warm up for about 10 minutes, so blending will be a touch easier.
  2. Once the ice has melted a little, place all of the ingredients in a high powered blender and use the tamper to blend until well-combined.
  3. Place in a bowl and enjoy!
Notes
If you like a little crunch in your ice cream, blend the Lakanto in last. The sweetener crystals won't dissolve completely. I preferred it this way!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Calories: 428 Fat: 19 Saturated fat: 16 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 65 Sugar: 16 Sodium: 23 Fiber: 15 Protein: 4

 

 

 

8 SIMPLE WAYS TO BEAT SUGAR CRAVINGS

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am a sugar addict.  My sugar addiction started when I was a kid.  I used to sit and do my homework over an entire box of Oreo cookies.  As a teenager and young adult, not much changed.  I could still easily eat a box of cookies, a few bags of candy, and an ice cream sundae to polish it off.  Ugh, just thinking about it now gives me a stomachache.

Even though these days, I eat a pretty nutritious diet, sugar still has it’s sweet little hold on me.  Whether it’s the raw chocolate treats at the health food store or the gluten-free vegan muffin at the coffee shop, I have to work incredibly hard to restrain myself.  I’ve seen the effects sugar can have not only on my body, but also on my mood, brain, and skin.  And let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.   So, I steer clear of it as much as possible these days with a few simple tricks.  Here’s how you can, too:

 

  1. HYDRATE.

    Many times when you have a sugar craving, what you are really feeling is dehydration.  Starting your day with 32-ounces of fresh lemon juice in high-quality water can set your whole day up for sugar-free success.  But if those sugar cravings still hit, try chugging some water instead.

  2. MOVE.

    Another cause of sugar cravings can be a lack of serotonin, which can be increased by incorporating movement into your daily life.  Find a way to fit in some exercise each day, since you’ll also get so many additional benefits!   If that craving still hits, try to put it off with a quick 10 minute walk or even a few burpees.

  3. SLEEP.

    You’ve been there, those nights where you’ve only gotten 3 hours of sleep, at best, and the insatatiable hunger you have would put a 300-pound football player to shame.  You can blame your hormones for this one.  Leptin, the satiety hormone, is reduced when you don’t get enough sleep, making you want to eat everything in sight.  Be sure you’re getting good, high-quality sleep, and if necessary, take naps.

  4. MEDITATE.

    Be still and feel your feelings.  I know, personally, whenever I have feelings come up that I’d rather not deal with, I make the run for a sugary treat.  But guess what, it never makes me feel better.  Ok, maybe for that moment, but it’s fleeting.  When you find yourself in that same situation, just sit with those feelings and as the saying goes, this too shall pass.  Sure, it’s challenging, but if you can make it through, it’s also extremely rewarding and worthwhile.

  5. EAT NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS.

    Nutrient deficiency leads to chronic overeating and poor food choices.  Your body is not hungry for calories, your body is hungry for nutrients.  When you’re feeding yourself enough nutrients, cravings will dissipate and you won’t need that sugary “pick-me-up.”  So, eat lots of green leafy vegetables and fill your plate up with the colors of the rainbow.  And do me a favor, please don’t start your day off with a sugary, refined-carbohydrate breakfast.  That is setting yourself up for failure all day long.

  6. GET RID OF IT ENTIRELY.

    I don’t believe in moderation, especially when it comes to refined sugar.  It’s like telling an alcoholic it’s okay to have a drink every now and then.  One cookie leads to two and the next thing you know you wake up with a bloated belly, an empty box of donuts on your coffee table, and a heart full of regret.  Not fun.  And just as one would tell an alcoholic to keep the liquor out of their house, I’m telling you to keep the sugar out of your house.  It’s much more difficult to eat something that isn’t available.  Sure, you could get in your car and drive to the nearest 7-11, but that requires much more effort.

  7. GIVE IN (with a sugar-free treat!).

    All that being said, there are times when you just need that sweet little treat, and I’m here to tell you that you can have it.  You can even have it every day.  The trick is to choose quality over quantity.  When you eat the real thing, you’ll need less of it and you won’t find yourself in that sad, regretful pile of donuts in the morning.  There are so many options now, with stevia and monkfruit sweetened treats hitting the shelves on the daily.  Both stevia and monkfruit don’t spike your blood sugar, so you can enjoy them guilt-free, unlike artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet) that have a long list of side effects, including impaired metabolism, cancer, and more sugar cravings (yikes!).

    Just be sure to use high-quality versions of stevia4-Ingredient Healthiest Caramel Ice Cream.  Here are a few of my favorite sugar-free treats:

    • Addictive Wellness Chocolate & Elixirs.  Not only are these chocolates and elixirs sugar-free, keto, vegan, and delicious, but they’re also filled with the most healthy & potent super herbs and medicinal mushrooms!  They have a chocolate for your every need, whether it’s energy, focus, beauty, tranquility, love (be careful with this one!), and even femininity (for that time of the month, ladies).
      • PRO TIP: Mix the Caramel Elixir Blend with unsweetened almond milk for a beverage that tastes like Lucky Charms!
    • Keto Cups from Eating Evolved.  These chocolate coconut butter cups are basically just cacao, coconut butter, and MCT oil, but they taste like pure magic.  I prefer the ones with stevia, but if that’s not you’re thing, they also have ones without.
    • Phi Kind Chocolates.  Another keto-friendly chocolate treat, with the highest quality ingredients: cacao, MCT oil, and sweetened with corn-free erythritol and stevia.  A plethora of truffle flavors for your every desire.  I’m not a cherry dessert fan, but the Cherry Almond Butter Chocolate truffles are my surprise favorite flavor.

 

Did you find these tips helpful?  Share your own tips below!

COULD EATING COLD POTATOES HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?

Have you been following a low-carb diet or cutting down on your starches to help you lose weight?  Well, if you’ve been missing them, I’ve got some pretty great news for you! When starches are cooked and then cooled, the starch is converted into something called resistant starch.

 

WHAT IS RESISTANT STARCH AND WHY IS IT GOOD FOR YOU?

Resistant starch is a type of prebiotic that helps feed the good bugs in your gut.  These prebiotics can’t be digested in the stomach or small intestine, and so they get to your colon intact and feed many of the good bugs that are hanging out there (which is why it’s also important to take & eat probiotics, so you have the good bugs to begin with).

Because these starches are indigestible and not metabolized by your body, you don’t get the same blood sugar spike and you absorb fewer calories from them, contributing to weight loss and decreased fat storage (yes, please!).  

Some other powerful health benefits of resistant starch include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Improved digestion & gut health (hello improved mood, brain function, and longevity!)
  • Lowered risk of colon cancer
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Improved sleep, when eaten at night

 

WHAT FOODS (THAT I RECOMMEND) ARE HIGH IN RESISTANT STARCH?

picture of a sweet potato

Sweet Potato

HOW CAN YOU BUILD THIS INTO YOUR DIET?

 

Thoughts?  Questions?  Comments?  Let me know below!