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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!

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!

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 TOP 5 FAVORITE HEALTH & WELLNESS PODCASTS

I don’t know about you, but I spend a good majority of the day in the car.  Just yesterday I drove 20 minutes to see clients in the morning, 30 minutes to the gym, another 30 minutes to run errands, 45 minutes to the west side to go to an event, and then another 40 minutes back home.  That LA car life is no joke, unfortunately.  So, to pass the time and also to enhance my mind and health, I listen to podcasts.  I also listen to them at home when I’m getting ready, cleaning, cooking, or eating.  I like to soak up as much as possible.

Even if you’re not a wellness nerd like me, podcasts can be a great way to motivate or to keep you inspired on your own wellness journey.  They can keep you informed on the latest nutritional research or help you feel less alone as you listen to the journey and struggles of others.

 

This might just be my favorite podcast right now.  Luke Storey brings on the biggest names and experts in nutrition, spirituality, and relationships.  The chats, while highly entertaining, are also extremely informative in a way that even the lightest wellness dabblers can understand.  He talks about his battle with addiction, his wellness adventures, and how he’s navigating life and relationships, which, as we know, is never easy.  He is incredibly open and vulnerable, and every time I listen, I’m inspired to be more so.

Favorite episodes:  #68: When Love is a Drug with Neil Strauss & #77-78: Let Food Be Thy Medicine with the Jing Slingers.

 

Another favorite of mine.  Shawn Stevenson breaks down the latest nutritional studies and exercise science in the most digestible way.  Every episode feels like a tangible action step to supercharging your own diet, workout routine, or sleep routine.  What I love most about Shawn is his straight-forward, non-judgmental approach to all things wellness.  He’s also the author of Sleep Smarter, 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success, which is a phenomenal read.

Favorite episodes:  #183: The Best Pre-Workout, Intra-Workout, and Post-Workout Nutrition & #199: Creating Powerful Relationships and Why Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus with Dr. John Gray.

 

This podcast is hosted by two 30-something LA-based rad chicks who talk about everything from morning smoothies to skin care to astrology to yoni eggs (yup, it’s a thing and I want one!).  Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari are like my two best friends supporting me through my wellness journey, who I can always count on to make me laugh and tell me the truth, even if I don’t want to hear it.  It’s my weekly check-in for LA fitness/nutrition/wellness trends, spirituality, astrological happenings, and how to handle it all.  And I always leave feeling like “I’ve got this.”

Favorite episodes:  That’s So Shamanade with Shaman Durek & any episode with Ambi Sitham!

 

This is my go-to podcast for everything biohacking.  Ben Greenfield brings on the top doctors and experts in their field to talk fitness, nutrition, endurance sports, and overall health.  I can always count on him to keep me updated on the latest in optimizing my physical and mental performance.  A good balance between looking your absolute best, while also keeping it (almost) natural and healthy.  A lot of science, but Ben keeps it interesting enough for the average listener.

Favorite episodes:  The Plant Paradox: Are Lectins Really That Harmful or Is Dr. Steven Gundry Wrong? with Steven Gundry & How Females Can Lose Body Fat Fast, How to Fix Your Vision Naturally, 4 Science-Based Superfoods

 

When I think I’ve heard it all in terms of holistic health and alternative practices, Extreme Health Radio never disappoints to prove me wrong.  Justin and Kate walk us through their own journey through physical and spiritual health, while also interviewing the top doctors practicing the most unconventional therapies.  This show is a constant reminder that we actually don’t know anything for certain, even in medicine and science, and that our minds have more power than we could ever realize.

Favorite episodes:  #466: Dr. Jack Kruse, Biohacking Modern Life, How Mitochondria Control Genetic Expression, Dangers of Blue Light, The Importance of Grounding & Magnetism & #543: Ty Bollinger – Flu Shot Side Effects & Do Vaccines Cause Cancer?

 

And more than a few honorable mentions, for your wellness nerds, like me:

 

What are some of your favorite podcasts?  Share with me below.  I’m always looking for new ones to add to my arsenal!