Beauty Care 101

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Beauty Care 101

“If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? Your skin absorbs at least 60% of what you slather on it and is absorbed right into your bloodstream. Store shelves are filled with toxic products which includes beauty products. Even many “healthy” people don’t realize what they are putting on their skin. Up to 95% diseases are preventable (NIH) and they are preventable through lifestyle. What you put in your mouth (cigarettes, gum/mints, alcohol, Rx & OTC drugs, artificial ingredients) and what you put on your skin is directly related to either sickness or health. Many people do not bother to read the ingredients on non-edible products and don’t realize they are putting carcinogens right on their skin. Wellness and healthy living is not exclusive to just one thing.

IN THE
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Wellness is many holistic things: drinking pure, filtered water (not from a plastic bottle), fitness, eating organic food, supporting local organic farmers, massage, chiropractic care, sustainability, making sure our purchases care for the earth, acupuncture and using non-toxic skin care products.  When buying beauty products i.e. shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, lotion, cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balms/chapstick, baby products, body butter, perfumes, deodorants, tampons, be sure to read the labels carefully. Ingredients to watch out for and to avoid at all cost:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • FD&C Color and Pigments
  • DEA (Diethanolamine)
  • MEA (Monoethanolamine)
  • TEA (Triethanolamine)
  • Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)
  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • Butylene Glycol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Dioxin
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
  • Triclosan

Personal products also include tampons and pads. Conventional brands (Tampax, Kotex, Playtex, o.b.) that use toxic ingredients in their tampons include dyes, bleached GMO cotton, synthetic materials such as rayon, polypropylene, plastic. Our friends at Veeda tell us more “pads often contain blends of chlorine-bleached pulp that include dioxin, a substance not only linked to TSS, but also to cancer, endometriosis, immune system depression, infertility and hormone disruption. Dioxin is a carcinogen that settles in fat cells and builds up over time.

Many forget that they are literally what they put in their body!

The average woman uses 12 personal care products a day exposing herself to 168 chemicals such as formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption.

Here are some Sarah Stanley Approved brands that are good for your health, the planet, and won’t contribute to disease.

Pads/Tampons

OrganycVeedaSeventh Generation

Face Care

Balanced GuruThe Orange Owl

Lips

Eco Lips

Deodorant

Primal Pit Paste (great for men too!)

Shampoo/conditioner

Desert Essence

Toothpaste

Revitin (great for everyone!)

Soap/body wash

Flagstaff Soap Company

----- Cover photo credit: Liga_Eglite

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Sweat, Blood, Tears + A Birthday For Clean Water

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Sweat, Blood, Tears + A Birthday For Clean Water

August 23, 2014

12:45 a.m.

I cursed into the pitch black of the night. The wind was gusting at 30 miles per hour. My hip flexors were on fire. I was relegated to a fast walk. Oh! What was that noise? A mountain lion? No, just the wind in the trees freaking me out. Was that a snake I just about stepped on? I assured my mind that it wasn’t. It’s funny how the scrapes on the trail looked like snakes. I kept moving forward. Tiredness was beginning to takeover. All I could think about was sleeping. For days. Maybe at the next aid station I could lie down for a few minutes and close my eyes. I was closing in on mile 70.5 and my head was messing with me. Why was I running 100 miles again?

—–

It all began about 21 years ago. I had always been active as a kid (growing up and toiling on one of the country’s first organic vegetable farms was a natural fitness playground) and running was a part of that. A particularly horrific personal life event catapulted me into running full time. Despite taking care of my younger siblings, working on the farm 15+ hours a day, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. most days and ran. In $13.00 Velcro shoes no less. Sometimes I ran barefoot. No one supported me in my running. In fact, several family members made fun of me for running. I brushed the negativity aside and ran anyway. Other things may have been taken away from me but running wasn’t going to be one of them.

As the calendar turned and the years marched on, I continued to run. I experienced more loss and mourning. Sadness and grief. Throughout these really tough circumstances, I continued to run. It was the place and time where I could talk with God, process what I was going through, and rejoice in the freedom I had recently found. Running helped to heal my soul.

—–

After I ran my first marathon I said I would never run another one again. My running coach told me that whatever I said in the first 24 hours did not apply. And he was right. Because a few weeks later I decided that I wanted to qualify for the coveted Boston Marathon. After a few setbacks and injuries, I started running on trails full time and fell in love with them. This is where I belonged. Naturally, when one starts running on trails 100 percent they sign up for a 50K, right? Well, that’s what I did. I finished that race strong. Two weeks later ran a road marathon and qualified for Boston Marathon. Two weeks later, I ran my first 50 mile ultramarathon. That following week I was running on the trails and thought about my milestone birthday coming up in a few months. As I ran, I thought of all I had endured, survived, escaped from. I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday in an epic way. What better way to celebrate it but by running a 100 mile ultramarathon?

And that’s precisely what I did. August 22, 2009, I ran my first 100 miler and finished in 24:58 (that’s 24 hours, 58 minutes). Following that epic celebration of sweet, blood, and tears (sadly, no birthday cake or ice cream!), I bit the ultra endurance bug from that point on. Hard. I took four weeks “off” and then preceded to run in a 24-hour relay, three marathons, and one half marathon. All in a four week timeframe. Marathons became “easy” and I thought back to what I said after I ran my first marathon. That running coach was right. 

It would take almost 2.5 years, however, to run my second 100 miler. The scars and trauma from the first 100 miler ran deep. That race turned out to be my first DNF. At mile 80. After running for 24 hours, 1 minute, no less. That one (ONE!) minute put me past the cut off. I mentally recovered from that DNF and a little more than a year later, I once again stood apprehensively at the start line of my third 100 miler. This particular course was very challenging. It was in the remote backcountry of Bryce Canyon, Utah. Deep sand, having to use hands to climb up some sections – the course was brutal. Injury finally took me out at mile 45. Another DNF. It didn’t sting as much as the first one, but I strongly dislike not finishing what I start!

——

It was late Spring 2014 and I knew my 35th birthday was rapidly approaching. I knew that without a shadow of a doubt, I would regret if I wasn’t at the start line of the 100 miler that started it all. Could I run 35 miles (the previous year I ran 34 miles to celebrate my birthday)? Sure, but I knew that I would not be happy with that choice. And so I set plans in motion (no pun intended) to go back to the place that started it on.

I like my endurance events to be an extension of my life and part of that is to support worthy causes that truly make a positive difference in others. And that cause is Blood: Water. What better way to celebrate my 35th birthday than by running 100 miles to provide access to clean water for Africa?!

Friday, August 22, 2014

 

The birthday, 100 miler ride! Thanks, Silvercar!

My birthday! Silvercar sponsored the ride to South Dakota from Denver International Airport. My friend, Erich, also flew in to crew me during the race. During the trek up to Custer, South Dakota I thought about the last five years and everything that happened in them. The hopes, the dreams, the disappointment, the ups, the downs, the DNFs, the time spent training, and the precious communities in Africa that I was running for. Somewhere along the drive north, the clouds gave way to sun and I fell asleep (I knew I would be thankful for this nap come the next day!) and since Erich was driving, I caught some shut eye.

 

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LH100 pre-race meeting.

Upon arriving in Custer, I picked up my race packet, chatted with the race director, Royce, and then sat in on the pre-race meeting. As the minutes kept ticking away the nerves began to grow. I thought about where I would be tomorrow at this time. Back at the hotel I ate the food I brought with me. I knew that this little town would not have organic, plant-based, real food options so I brought all my food that I would need with me. My birthday and pre-race meal consisted of quinoa, assorted raw veggies, some legumes, Hemp Hearts, and a kombucha. Delicious. It was a wonderful meal. I turned the lights out and prayed for good sleep. It’s always hard to sleep hours before a big event like this!

Saturday, August 23, 2014 

 

WY Welcome Center en route to Custer, South Dakota

4:00 a.m.

The alarm rang. D day was here! I checked the weather app right away. I had heard heavy rain during the night and I really did not want to run another 100 miler in the rain (the 100 miler in 2012 was in the rain) and I was delighted to see that the forecast called for clear skies. It was going to be a good first day being 35 years young!

I had some organic chia oatmeal, a few sips of kombucha, water, and we drove to the Custer high school track where the race would start. I posted a few quick updates on social networks, chatted with some other runners, tried to calm my nerves down, and at 6 a.m. the gun sounded and we were off!

One of the things about running 100 miles is that you pretty much know you won’t see the finish line till 24 hours later. If you think about it too much it hurts your head. So I pushed that thoughtout of my mind and enjoyed the first few miles.

The course was brand new this year compared to the one five years previous. We were warned about the “false flat” but in those first few miles you forget about that because well, you feel pretty good. I talked with the other runners around me and we watched the light break the darkness. I arrived at the first aid station feeling way too good and told Erich I was running too fast. He reminded me to slow down. I had some sips of organic tart cherry juice, a few bites of the organic sprouted grain bread with organic sunflower butter + raw honey + organic cinnamon + organic ginger + organic maca sandwich. Hmm, was it good! It was still pretty shady so I didn’t need my hydration pack refilled. The aid stations were fairly close together for this 100 miler and for that I was grateful.

 

My favorite drink besides water!

The course took us by Crazy Horse and I searched for it in the midst of the heavy fog. I never did see it. The next aid station brought back painful memories. It was where I had my first breakdown five years ago with horrible blisters. Erich gave me more of my organic food and refilled my hydration pack. 10 miles in and only 90 more miles to go! As the runners spread out (there was also a 50K, 50 miler, and a 100 mile relay happening at the same time) we were all running pretty much by ourselves as is very typical for a ultramarathon. The sun was beginning to make its appearance and I prayed it wasn’t going to be as hot as it was last time. That was Mile 15.1 and Hill City Aid Station came quickly and I was still on good pace for a sub-24 hour finish. After some organic carrot juice, organic tart cherry juice, Yukon Gold Potatoes with Celtic Sea Salt, organic turmeric (I choose these foods for their anti-inflammatory properties, energy, adrenal support), I was trudging down the road again. My goal was to make aid stations quick and effective. During the latter stages of the race it can be hard to leave them as they are not only sources of nutritional nourishment, but also moral support and encouragement.

The next few aid stations went by without much incident. It was starting to get hot so I took my shirt off to help keep my body cool. I also made sure to take salt caps whenever I saw Erich. As I was running, I kept a mental note that I would be running back during the dark on these sections. This wasn’t a technical course (thank God), but there were historic tunnels that dark in the daylight and I could only imagine how spooky they would be in the real darkness of the middle of the night! I pushed those thoughts away and kept running.

 

It all looks so easy on paper!

By this point, I had talked to several runners and got some advice for running a “false flat” course. Because most ultras are run in mountains with massive hills that force you to walk, running a course with no visible hills already was playing mind games with me. Remember how I was feeling good those first five miles? It would come back to haunt me. I very rarely run with headphones, but at the 50 miler last month, Joel (an aid station captain as well as 100 miler veteran) told me to listen to something. So at mile 24.8 I requested my iPod and started listening to worship music. Mobile phone coverage ended around this point as well so it was good timing. I tried to take some photos along the way, but keeping the mind happy, the body moving, it’s hard to stop and take pictures when you know that the sooner you finish the sooner you can sit down (and not be forced to get back up!)

I could feel hot spots on my feet and told Erich at mile 33.8 that at the next aid station we’d need to address them. The weather was overcast again and even a slight dampness in the air. I was just thankful it wasn’t blazing hot!

It was about 2:21 p.m. when I got to mile 37.5 and the Rochford Aid Station. Collapsing into the chair I started to peel off my compression socks and shoes. Erich taped them up, put on new socks, same shoes. Oh how I hate, hate, blisters!! I had some more organic, anti-inflammatory foods as we were tending to my feet and gave my iPod to Erich as it was starting to rain. After I left the comfort of the aid station I regretted giving my iPod because I had a long “false flat” section to conquer.

 

During the first hour of race

As the sun began to set I knew the real race was about to start. At this particular point in the race I passed some gorgeous homes – no, more like estates. It sure was beautiful on this August Saturday, but I shuddered to think what it must be like on a Monday morning in February!

 

Do you know how hard it is to squat and take a photo after running 50 miles?!

Because it was an out and back race course other runners began to trickle past me ( “heading home” as I like to call it). I only had a few more miles to go to the turnaround and they felt like forever. There was an aid station at mile 49.3 with the turnaround 0.7 miles further. This was my least favorite part of the race. I opted to not stop at this aid station on the way out but throw my hydration pack to Erich to refill so I could keep on running, get to the turnaround (I did manage to take a quick selfie with the turnaround sign), and run back to the aid station and refuel. It was 6:25 p.m.

Do you know how hard it is to squat and take a photo after running 50 miles?! After briefly sitting and forcing myself to eat, I got up and muttered “100 milers are freaking insane” and trudged back up the incline. I won’t call it a hill but after running 50.7 miles even a mole hill felt giant!

Erich jumped in to pace me and it was so very good to talk with another human! It helped take my mind off the intense pain I was in. We shuffled and talked and caught up on what transpired in the last 12 hours. At this point I was making good time and even a sub-24 hour finish time was still within reach. We kept leap frogging a few other runners. It was dark and we didn’t realize it at the time, but we running (like, really running) on a gradual downhill that would end up coming back to bite me.

 

In the early stages of the race. It was (thankfully) overcast.

It was a little after 10 p.m., and the soft light and chatter of the Rochford Aid Station beckoned us. We began to map out a strategy. Erich would go get my warm clothes, I would begin stripping all my current clothes off (literally), redress, eat while doing this all, try not to cramp, refill hydration pack and last but not least, get in and out of the aid station as quick as possible. I knew the longer I wasn’t moving it would really hurt to get going again.

Erich and a female aid station volunteer helped me undress (do you how difficult it is to take off a sports bra after running 62.7 miles? Pretty much impossible!) and then redress. It was good to have on warm clothes on. With gloves, hat, a fresh sports bra, compression shorts, long sleeve shirt I felt like a new woman. I was already losing my appetite, but forced myself to have a few bites of organic Yukon Gold Potatoes with turmeric/coconut oil/Celtic Sea Salt mixture. The organic tart cherry juice still hit the spot though! (I was later told the cross country team- volunteering at this aid station- were making s’mores. Even though I am an organic and plant-based gal, I would’ve had one!)

Ten minutes later, I was on my way down the lonely, dark trail with my headlamp lighting the way. Erich ended up running about a half marathon with me and he went back to crewing/sherpa-ing responsibilities.

 

The Mickelson Trail

This is where things started to go south. I was mistakenly told that the next aid station was mile 80 and if I kept the pace I would for sure make the sub-24 hour cutoff. But as I was shuffling down the trail I was doing the math and knew that the miles were miscalculated. That was discouraging news. This also where the “fast” miles began to hurt me. Literally. I trudged into the next aid station and didn’t want to eat a thing. I had some lukewarm organic matcha tea, some fruit, the steadfast organic tart cherry juice. The pain was gradually increasing. All I wanted to do was sit. Getting out of that chair was the last thing I wanted to do. My hip flexors would not let me run. I tried to break into a trot and it simply was not happening. I left mile 66.3 and knew in my gut it was going to be a long night. Just how long a night I did not know.

The course was on the Mickelson Trail and for the middle sections of the race course there were gates (I guess to keep cattle in??) along the trail. You had to pause running and open them up. During the daylight this wasn’t a problem, but at night I kept fearing I would run smack dab into one. The line “things go bump in the middle of the night” took on a whole meaning. Thankfully, I never ran into one.

It was cold. The wind was fierce. I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep. Forever. I kept telling myself I could take a little nap when I got to the next aid station. Warmth and closing my eyes sounded so heavenly!

 

One of the tunnels along the trail (daylight here).

I kept walking at fast pace, hip flexors still not cooperating, shuffling down the dark trail. Why was I doing this again? Oh that’s right! To provide communities in Africa access to clean water. I kept this mental picture in my mind every time I wanted to stop.

I soon saw the faint lights of the Mystic Aid Station (mile 70.5). I came in worn out and ready to drop. I was fighting exhaustion big time. They say that you can die sooner from sleep deprivation than from starvation and I believe that. The wind was howling. And the wind chill made it about 29 degrees. I told Erich I wanted to close my eyes “just for a little bit” and preceded to get in the passenger seat, recline the seat back, and go away to dreamland. Well, that didn’t go according to plan. My body somehow knew that we were not finished with what we set out to do about 18 hours previously. So I sat back, practically fell out of the car, and stared into the deep, dark, dreadful night. Running alone on this section (remember the spooky tunnels?) plus the cold, the dark, the exhaustion, the pain … oh how I wanted to call it even! I shed a few tears. Grabbed some more layers (did I mention it was freezing?) and verbally said “I’m done”. Another runner, Norb, and pacer, Brian, came into the aid station. Erich was doing his best to get me going and I wasn’t so sure of this plan. Brian came over, took me by the arm and said “run with us”. “We’re going to do 20 minute miles.” Knowing I would be with two other people lifted my spirits and soon the three of us were on our way. It was 1:25 a.m. on Sunday morning, August 24, 2014.

 

Approaching tunnel during the daylight hours.

Within the first couple hundred feet I dry heaved and I remember Norb saying “oh no”. I told myself to pull it together and march on. And that I did. Norb and Brian talked and I was still in a brain funk and kind of out it. I remember Brian asking me questions, but that’s about it. I was still dreaming of a warm bed!

I’d be remiss to mention one important detail. Peeing. For the last several hours the Mickelson Trail had my DNA all over it. I must have peed what seemed like a couple hundred times. It can be a variety of things (cold, electrolyte imbalance, other) and I didn’t really care, to be honest. I was happy I was peeing because being dehydrated can be worse! I laughed to myself internally as I realized my squats were getting less and less low. But I still managed to pee on the ground and not myself. (Can I put that skill on a resume?!)

Mile 75.3 came and my appetite was long gone by this point. Nothing sounded good. I was tired of eating, swallowing, chewing, thinking, moving. I was over this 100 miler. I knew I needed to eat something and as much as I hate to write this (you won’t believe it) the only thing that sounded remotely good was soup. And the only option was ramen noodles. NOT my first choice in a 1000 years. Being a real, organic food advocate and eater I cringed at this. But it was 2:30 a.m. and told myself to eat something. It was 100 miles for Pete’s sake. And so I had a few lukewarm swallows of ramen. Yuck. I can’t remember the last time I put processed “food” into my body. (**If** I run another 100 miler – and that’s a big IF – I’ve already thought of a way to have hot “Sarah Approved” soup for me to eat.)

 

Still running…late afternoon on the 23rd of August.

It was also freezing at this aid station. The volunteers were wrapped in blankets and told us to get in and out as quickly as possible. It was the highest point in the race plus exposed and the wind was making conditions miserable. There were even some slight snowflakes falling from the I left that aid station and kept telling myself “one foot in front of the other” and “mind over matter”. Both of these quotes took on a whole new meaning for me during the course of this race. I was still only able to power walk with a few attempts at “running” with no success. It was faster to walk at this point. I told myself I would keep moving till I crossed that finish line. Repeat quotes. I did have my iPod on and listened to the worship music. Having good, positive music is one of my keys to staying positive when everything around me is falling apart. One of the songs that played was by Jars of Clay Run In The Night. I chuckled to myself. If only they knew how literal that song was!

I had pulled away from Norb and Brian at this point and arrived at mile 80.1. Less than 20 miles to go! It was now 4:35 a.m. I drank some of the organic tart cherry juice and hobbled on. The pain was intense. I thought back to my first marathon and a nurse telling me that childbirth is so much easier. If that was the case, that showed just how difficult running 100 milers is. I told myself I could do anything. I knew by this point I would not be finishing in sub-24 hours. In fact I would be lucky to finish at all! I was ahead of the cutoffs, but they were always in the back of my mind. Oh how I dislike cutoffs. Strongly dislike.

 

Beautiful sky heading into sunset.

I knew I would arrive at the next aid station just as the sun was coming up. My second sunrise to behold without sleeping. Why was I doing this again? Yes, that’s right! The communities in Africa who long for the luxury so many of us take for granted: clean water. I power walked (marched) on.

Sure enough, at 6:15 a.m. I arrived back at Hill City, mile 84.9 and it was light out. I had been running-moving-shuffling-hobbling; whatever you want to call it (just not dancing) for over 24 hours now. I thought back to five hours ago of when I wanted to end it all, curl up in a little ball and just sleep. But yet here I was, still moving forward despite the excruciating pain I was in. It wasn’t pretty, but are 100 milers supposed to be pretty?

 

One of the last photos before heading into darkness.

This aid station was at a park and I got to use a real restroom for the first time in over a day! Using a toilet seemed strange. Once again I thought of this luxury that so many of us (me included) take for granted. Yes, I was glad I kept going when I wanted to stop at 1 a.m.

Even with the sun coming up it was still cold but the wind had died down so that was a welcome relief. I wasn’t eating much but I the organic tart cherry juice and organic carrot juice were still appealing so I drank that. I was paying as close attention as my weary mind could to how I felt nutritionally. And this intuition was good. I forced myself to have a few more bites of the solid organic food Erich had ready for me and swallowed what I could. I knew I only had a few hours left to go and I’d make it. I wasn’t too worried about calories at this point because A) I wasn’t running hard and B) it wasn’t hot out. If I kept my head in the right place (clean water for Africa, clean water for Africa, clean water for Africa), I’d make it across the finish line in one (but badly hurting) piece.

The whole sleep deprivation thing kept creeping up on me and I kept pushing that out of my mind. Mind over matter, Sarah, mind over matter. One foot in front of the other, one foot in the front of the other. Those were the phrases that were running (no pun intended) through my head for hours.

 

I made it! (You can’t see the tears streaming down my face.)

I trudged on, somewhat demoralized I wasn’t finished by now, but also happy I wasn’t pushing the cutoffs! Mile 89.9 came and I couldn’t eat anything. I still had 10 miles to go and I just wanted to cross that darn finish line and sit in a chair and not move. Erich refilled my hydration pack and I continued to march dutifully on. The next 5.7 miles were all uphill, although not technical, it was still uphill. My legs and feet were still on fire. They had been like this for hours.

I grimaced at the pain and kept the communities of Africa in my mental vision. If they could walk 35 miles for water – not even knowing if it would be clean or not! – I could most certainly suck up the fire raging in my body and finish this race. It seemed like the last aid station would never come into sight! The sun was creeping higher in the sky and I could feel my face getting sunburned. It was still chilly though and I had all the clothes I had put on 12 hours previously. I passed another runner, Dale, who Erich and I had leapfrogged way back between miles 56 and 62. He was in rough shape. His body was in a half moon shape on the right side. Not in a straight line. I hated to see the pain he was in.

 

MY SHOES ARE OFF! Notice my “missing” little toes.

After what seemed like hours, I finally approached the very last aid station. I believe I grunted a few tears. I told Erich I somehow had a pricker in between my big toe and the second toe. I had been running on it for about 10 miles now and the pain was unbearable at times. He asked me how I got it and I replied “I have no idea”. I didn’t want to stop, sit, take off socks, shoes, survey the situation, fix it however we could, and then put socks and shoes back on. Time was a precious commodity! I was **this** close to finishing. And **this** close to collapsing into a chair and not having to get up for a long time. Before Erich sent me on my way down the trail he asked me what I wanted at the finish line. All I could think of was to get my feet out of my shoes!

With 4.4 miles to go, I tried to run but it was apparent that my hip flexors had enough and I agreed them. The sun was burning my face up. I longed for a visor. Some shade. A chair. A bed. AND FOR THESE SHOES TO COME OFF! It was like running on hot coals with splinters. It was a new level of pain for me and not one I’ll soon forget. My feet hurt so bad at times, I even contemplated tearing my shoes off and hurling them in the woods. Running barefoot seemed like a good idea. But since I knew I probably wasn’t rationally thinking I left them on.

 

Erich getting ready to tend to my poor feet.

I passed another female runner and this lifted my spirits. I told her and her pacer good job and we both kept moving forward. Clean water for Africa, clean water for Africa, clean water for Africa. Suddenly, I thought back to what Erich asked me and I remembered the ice foot bath I had when I finished this race five years ago. That. Was. What. I. Wanted!

Those next few miles dragged on. I thought for sure they moved the finish line to the North Pole and didn’t tell me. A 50 miler runner and her family came up the trail to witness the last few hours of the 100 miler. They proceeded to power walk with me and talk. I couldn’t exactly think straight and who knows what I was saying, but they stuck with me those last few miles and their presence was much The finish line seemed like a mirage. I kept thinking I was hearing the cheers and celebration of the finish line area but it wasn’t. The minutes ticked by. I could not believe what I had just put my body through. The excruciating pain I fought through. The long, long night. Two sunrises. And zero sleep. Words flooded my brain and yet I felt numb to what was happening.

Then out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of the high school where I began many, many, many hours ago. Was it still 2014? What was my name? Birthdate? I saw Erich and tears filled my eyes. “When I turn 40 please remind me to go to the spa” I told him. The last 400 feet finished on the track where it all began. The small crowd at the finish cheered and clapped. I attempted to break into a hobble, but it was not happening. I succumbed to the shuffle I had been doing for the past 13 hours. With what energy I could, I lifted my arms into the air, tears filling my eyes and crossed the finish in 29 hours, 11 minutes, 45 seconds. I did it.

 

Much gratitude to my feet! They went through a lot to get me across the finish line.

And just like that it was all over.

As soon as I crossed the finish line I fell into Erich’s arm and wept. From the roots of the hair on my head to my poor, aching feet, my body was trashed. Other crew members and runners came over to congratulate me (this is what I love about 100 milers and small races!) and helped to pull my shoes off. What I thought was a splinter were really blisters. In fact, my feet were COVERED in them. I was missing both of my little toes – they had been taken over by blisters. People came over to ooh and aww and offer their condolences to them. Soon, someone brought a dishpan with ice water. Even though I was shivering it felt good to get my feet out of those shoes and into fresh air and cold water (to help with the swelling).

The various crew members, pacers, and other support people all helped the runners trickling in. It was an overwhelming sight. Every time a runner crossed the finish line we all cried together. Each one of us saw what we had been through and to see them finish was an incredible experience.

Dale, the runner I mentioned earlier, was the last runner to officially finish. We all cheered for him as he made his final lap down the track. He had started this race two (or was it three?) times before and this time was his first finish. I got goosebumps watching him cross the finish line.

It’s so interesting how you tell the body to do something and it listens. And then you cross the finish line and you can.not.move. We had to make our way to the awards ceremony and that was an eternity away. Erich and another kind guy helped me stand and walk, but within the first step we knew that it would be years before we ever reached the area so they hoisted me up into their arms and carried me a short distance to the room. I was in an exhausted, emotionally spent state of mind, but oh so very happy to be a finisher. Ironically, I managed to win my age group!

My feet needed attention, so Erich and I left the race and headed to find a drugstore. The medics had given us some supplies to aid in the blister care. Erich kindly tended to my feet (and mentioned that it was the grossest thing he has ever done) and bandaged my poor feet up.

Every time I looked at them I cried. They had been through so much. Even as I write this (three weeks post finishing) I have tears in my eyes.

Before leaving, we wanted to use our $10.00 coupons that was given as part of the race. We could use them almost anywhere in the little town of Custer. I had my eye on The Purple Pie Place before the race began and I used that as motivation several times during the race. We were in line when a rowdy kid STEPPED on my foot. I screamed, clutched the side of the counter a little harder and sobbed. After all my feet had been through, now this? It was more than I could take.

We had to drive back to Denver and that ride was brutal. Going straight from running 100 miles to sitting in a car wasn’t ideal, but we made the most it. We were both thankful it was a Silvercar. 

We stopped at two rest areas on the way back. I knew that movement was key and as much as I didn’t want to move, I had to. It took everything I had to lug myself out of the car, hold onto the side of car, step up on the curb. There was a plot of grass and I fell onto it. I tried to make it look like I was doing a cow/cat pose, but I’m sure I looked ridiculous. In fact, I know I did.

We made it back to Denver and Erich got a hotel room for us. I had to use a wheelchair to get to the room. Walking was oh, so very difficult. At this point I had been up for over 40 hours with 29 of those hours, running. When I saw the bed I almost cried. The other thing I wanted to do was to brush my teeth! Boy, did that feel good. Taking off my sweaty clothes was also another treat.

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sleep (the body might have stopped moving, but the muscles still keep going sometimes). I was also still going in and out of extreme hot flashes. I could not get warm. It’s almost like being really, really sick – fever sick like. But I didn’t have to fear not sleeping. I slept hard for about 12 hours.

August 25, 2014

The next morning was Monday and Erich was gone. I had to somehow get out of bed, get a shower, and get down to the car. I gave myself plenty of time to get these simple tasks done! I felt (and probably looked) like death. And concluded that all 100 milers should have a personal assistant for at least three days.

This was also the first time that I looked in the mirror. The wind and sun (and stress) even took a toll on my lips. It was like a Botox injection gone wrong. It took about a seven days for them to heal. Yup, my whole body was a wreck.

It’s weird to have accomplished something pretty significant and the rest of the world keeps on ticking like nothing even happened. Every time I thought of those 29 hours, 11 minutes I wept. Running 100 miles is a very emotional event.

I still didn’t have an appetite, but knew I needed to eat something (I did have a plant-based recovery shake right after finishing and some bites of pie but that was it). I saw a sign for Chipotle and thought that sounded good so I hobbled in. I was still feverish and could only eat a few bites. So much for that idea.

I finally arrived at my friends, “walked” in the door and fell on the floor. Every step I took wore me out. I slept fitfully the rest of the afternoon. The car needed to be cleaned out and it was clear that I was in no shape for that task so my friends graciously hauled in everything and cleaned it out.

The kicker was that I had to fly out to Canada the very next morning for a work trip to Manitoba Harvest. I had no idea how it was going to happen, but I was determined to make it happen.

Tuesday morning came and I unpacked just to repack, washed my hair (even blow dried it!) and was promptly worn out. I still had to return the car and fly. I was in no condition to walk so wheelchair it was. My feet were still in bandages so it was clear that “something” happened. I got a few inquires about them and the people were in awe of the feat. I flew to Canada, arrived in a wheelchair and the next 2 days were rough, but at least bearable. However, that Tuesday evening I got my appetite slowly back and enjoyed a meal for the first time in four days. On Thursday, I was able to put on shoes (TOMS) again for the first time in four days. By Friday. I was able to walk (slowly) and got to go to yoga. And then I slept almost the remainder of the day. I couldn’t get enough sleep. Saturday I was feeling really good and walked for about five hours with a TRX workout I discovered at a nearby gym Yoga Public with a good afternoon nap in between walking around Winnipeg. That evening I was really sore and in some pain and I knew I overdid it. The following day was Sunday and I didn’t move a whole lot.

But Monday morning I wanted to get in a workout and even though I was traveling, I got up and walked to Yoga Public at 5:45 a.m for yoga and TRX. Yup, I was feeling back to my old self again and that felt good.

I was drinking plenty of muscle recovery tea, eating really good, organic, whole, anti-inflammatory foods and this really helped with my recovery. I discovered the only organic cold-pressed juice shop in Winnipeg and that was a Godsend. I kept walking and I was surprised how good I felt physically just a week out from the race.

The emotional side of recovery was (is?) a different story. There will be times I will just tear up for no reason. Not being an emotional person this is unusual for me. It’s teaching me to be extra kind to myself and give myself love, grace and self care.

——-

As I was running the race I told myself I wouldn’t run another 100 miler. Since finishing I’ve had several people ask me when my next one is. Having been at the start line of now four 100 milers and finished two of them I guess I’m not exactly going to stop this sport anytime soon. I’m also a “young” 100 miler. The average age of a female 100 miler is about 45 years. So while I can not answer that question right now – the emotional and physical scars are still healing – it’s probably safe to say I’ll be embarking on more 100 milers in the future. Hell, five days before the race I was looking at one of the ninth toughest ultramarathons (Fat Dog 120). Is that an indicator? It might be.

If you’d like to help communities in Africa have access to clean water you candonate directly to Blood: Water here.

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Yoga For Anyone

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Yoga For Anyone

Think you can’t do yoga? Well think again because anyone can do yoga!

When most people first hear the word “yoga” they immediately conjure up thoughts of a monk in a far away land or they think of someone in a twisted pretzel pose and conclude they could never do that! Well friends, I’m here to inform you that anyone can do yoga.

Why? Because even though yoga has many different styles and poses the elements of yoga can benefit anyone regardless of flexibility and gender.

Here are 7 reasons why anyone can do yoga:

1) Yoga is about connecting breath with movement

If you have taken a yoga class with an experienced yoga teacher they will usually cue the sequence movement with breath. Even though yoga has thousands of poses given all the variations it’s important not to forget about breathing as you are moving your body through the yoga sequence. Always come back to the breath. This is one of essences of yoga.

 

Model: Sarah Stanley. Photo credit: Doug Kean Shotz

2) Yoga is the physical, mental, and spiritual practice to transform the body and mind 

This is the definition of yoga and I love it! Many things are spiritual to me as well as physical and mental: running on the trails, climbing a 14,000 foot tall mountain, cycling on the open roads, moving my body on my yoga mat. (Spending time with my faith community as well as listening to good worship music round out my spiritual practices.) Every time we step on our yoga mat we have another chance to build a strong mind and body. This strength will get you through the tough times in life that are bound to happen. If you can tame your monkey mind you can do great things.

3) Yoga is about community

Have you ever been a part of a strong yoga community? I’ve had the privilege of being part of one and it was one of the best times of my life. A yoga community can be a soft place to land when the storm is tossing you around like a paper airplane. It does take being vulnerable and opening your soul to those around you to be part of a supportive and thriving yoga community as this is where growth and transformation happen. Being vulnerable can be scary and perhaps that’s why more people don’t take yoga (headstands anyone?) for fear of looking stupid or whatever story they keep telling themselves. However, freedom is found when we embrace the scary places and walk through them with another person.

4) Yoga is about being present

I’ve had a yoga teacher who told us that if we only did one pose the entire class he would be happy. And that pose was being present and focusing on our breathe. When was the last time you JUST focused on your breathing? As I’m sure you know oxygen is important for our health (duh!) but many people hold their breath without even realizing it. Be present (no more multitasking). And focus on your breath.

5) Yoga can be done anywhere, anytime

Just like running, yoga can be done anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to be on your mat at 9 a.m. every morning to practice downward facing dog or to focus on your breathing! Yoga can be done on the airplane (close your eyes and focus on your breath alone), in airports, in the mountains, by the lake, or on the living room floor. Note: if you have anxiety or other mood issues yoga is a fantastic way to help calm the mind and heal the body.

6) Yoga is about calming and strengenthing the mind

Ever find yourself caught up with the chatter in your head? Me too. This is why yoga is so beneficial for anyone! Whether you take 15 minutes at home or 60 minutes at your local yoga studio this time is for yourself to put the past and future aside and simply focus on the present. Tune in to your body. How does it feel? Focus on your breathing and every time your mind starts to wander off bring your awareness back to it. (Tip: if you have trouble falling asleep focus on your breathing.)

7) Yoga is about daily practice

Getting into the healthy habit of setting all else aside and focusing on your mind, body, spirit for at least 15 minutes a day will have you seeing results you didn’t think were possible. A daily practice is going to look different for each of us. The point is that once you establish the healthy habit of daily mind+body+spirit awareness will you understand the positive benefits of yoga (and healthy living in general). Do you think about brushing your teeth? Probably not. It’s a habit deeply ingrained in you. So to is the daily healthy habits we get the honor of forming each and every day!

Peace and love to you~

To learn more about Silk visit here and here

Cover photo credit: Brad Coy

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

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Birthdays, Running, and Clean Water for Africa

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Birthdays, Running, and Clean Water for Africa

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This is the week! The week of my birthday. The week where I’ll ask people to celebrate my birthday with me by helping communities in Africa have access to clean water with Blood: Water. (You don't even have to run 100 miles!) The week where I'm going back to where it all began. The week where I’m counting down the days and hours to the start line of my 4th 100 mile ultramarathon.

For those of you new to me, here’s a little background. 5 years ago I ran my first 100 miler to celebrate a milestone birthday (can you guess what it was?) and I finished that race in 24 hours, 58 minutes, 3rd place in my age group and 7th overall in female. It would take me 2.5 years to attempt another 100 miler (the scars from the first were pretty traumatic!) and that race ended in a DNF because I missed the cut off at mile 80 by one minute (after running/moving for 24 hours). After mentally recovering from that loss I once again entertained the thought of running another 100 miler and toed the start line of a race course that was beautiful but oh so very brutal. 20,000 feet of elevation gain at above 9000 feet on rugged, remote trails was one of the most difficult races I’ve ever attempted. No words will do that race course justice. None. Sadly, injury took me out at mile 45 (and 15 hours of running) and once again the letters ‘DNF’ became seared in my memory. Even harder to accept was the feeling that I let the cause I run for (Blood: Water) down. But thankfully that feeling wasn’t true. Many people in Africa got access to clean water because of this run and that’s what mattered at the end of the day (or night because this is an ultramarathon after all).

I enjoy celebrating my birthday in a positive manner. A few highlights from the last few years include road cycling from Washington, D.C to New York City plus a half marathon in 2010 in support of Orange Laces, in 2011 I rode my bike again this time from San Francisco to San Diego in 2011 in support of Kids on Bikes, and in 2013 I ran 34 miles solo in support of Compassion. Doing something athletic in conjunction with causes that truly make a preventative difference is how I prefer to celebrate my birthday. (Although if someone wants to make me an organic, made-from-scratch birthday cake I won’t object :))

 

Finishing Lean Hose 100 Mile Ultramarathon on August 23, 2009 at 6:58 am. (24 hours, 58 minutes)

Finishing Lean Hose 100 Mile Ultramarathon on August 23, 2009 at 6:58 am. (24 hours, 58 minutes)

So the week is here. The miles and miles have been put in. Preparing myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Lots of real, organic, whole foods have been consumed. Visualization has been consistent. Will 21 years of running pay off for me? Will I am able to manage feet blisters that always seem to plague me on 100 milers? Will I be able to keep the negative voices out of my head when the pain is horrific? Regardless of those answers I will give it my all when the gun goes off at 6:00am MST on Saturday, August 23, 2014. As I toe the start line of another 100 mile ultramarathon knowing that I’ll have moments of agony and joy, pain and happiness, doubt and confidence, low lows and high highs, hot weather and cold weather, what will keep me going is the cause in front of me: clean water and clean blood for Africa.

Running 100 miles at one fell swoop is not an easy task and I would appreciate your encouragement and positive support along the way. Leave a birthday greeting in the comments below or on any of my social links.

And lastly, my birthday is this Friday, August 22 and I’d love nothing more but to have you celebrate it with me by giving directly to Blood: Water! They have a few campaigns going on so pick one that speaks to you.

This year Silvercar is sponsoring the ride to/from South Dakota so be sure to follow our social platforms for the latest updates, photos, and other interesting tidbits along the adventure!

p.s. super grateful to Erich for crewing me- again!- at yet another ultra. I couldn't do it without your support.

xo

Cover photo taken by me on one of my training runs.

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Everyone Is Fighting a Battle

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Everyone Is Fighting a Battle

The world is indeed hurting. Everyone is fighting a battle- sometimes one you can't see. In light of Robin Williams passing yesterday (August 11, 2014)  topics like depression and suicide are now being talked about. Why does death have to happen for us to discuss this issue? It begs the question of how can we live more connected, intentional lives so that people don’t take their own life.  (It should also ask us to pay attention to what we are eating- everythingis connected together.)

The fact of the matter is that each of us has probably gone through some dark valleys- some more than others. We all carry burdens that are most often invisible to the world- even those close to us.

Just how prevelient is depression? The below stats are from To Write Love On Her Arms (sources stated in link):

- More than 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide

- 9.7 percent of Americans have a mood disorder, such as depression

- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide

- About 80 percent of people diagnosed with major depression can be treated and return to their usual activities and feelings

We don’t need more prescriptions that mask the real issue going on in our lives and souls. What people need is to BE loved. What people need is to be heard. Listened too. We need to put down our screens and pick up broken, sad, lonely hearts and souls. (A topic for another time but diet-as in what we eat/drink- plays a HUGE part in our emotional health and general wellbeing.)

Depression is a sign of something else going on. These root causes are not limited to the following but include: past (and current) abuse, tragic childhoods, being bullied, survivors, war veterans, addictions, loss of family, abandonment, loss of business, loss of a child, what we eat, what we drink, what we think, poverty…. The reasons are vast and I can’t even begin to touch on them all here.

Depression can happen to anyone regardless of status: cars, houses, boats, cars, shoes, clothes- these things don't care how wealthy we are, our success, our fame. Feelings of loneliness can happen to anyone. Filling the void with things is a sure recipe for continued feelings of emptiness.

What’s going in our minds is very much connected to every part of our health. When we heal the mind we can heal the body. And when we heal the brain through the right food, exercise/physical activity, reputable therapy, thinking healthy, positive thoughts, and fully comprehend the love He has for us, we can begin to heal our wounded, hurting soul.

A few questions for us to think about as we go about our daily life:

- Can we be a trusted ally- a friend that has their back no matter what?

- Are we a safe place to land? Without judgement?

- What can I do to be a better friend?

- Who can I show genuine love to today?

- How many times can I show others that I love and care for them?

- If I struggle with depression and loneliness, who can I talk with today? (If you can’t think of anyone, call this number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

- Will I chase down the demons that haunt me?

- What can I do today to heal my soul? A run, walk, yoga, massage, eating organic food & drink, superfoods & omegas (really important for brain health!) surround myself with loving people?

- Who can you tell today that you care and love them? Call them, text them, write them a note card...

- What burdens can we help our friends carry?

- Check out my friend Amy's Strong Inside Out Tour- coming to a city near you!

Let's bear one another's burdens and live the kindness, compassion, love we long to see in the world.

You are loved!

And I love you.

xo

P.S. On a personal note, I've had my struggles with depression. I've survived some pretty horrific circumstances and it's only by the grace of God that I am where I am today. But it doesn't make the pain of what I've been through any less real. The struggle is still real. When you break the cycle of abusive, dysfunctional families (putting it mildly), life can be hard. I'm thankful for the people in my life who remind me that I am loved. May you know that too.

If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Cover photo credit: Tdlucas5000

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#WellnessChat: Pillars of Healthy Eating and Cooking

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#WellnessChat: Pillars of Healthy Eating and Cooking

Missed #wellnesschat on Twitter last evening? It's held every Thursday at 8pm EST, so come join this encouraging, engaging, and educational community! Andy Bellatti is the guest the first Thursday of every month. He talked about the 'Pillars of Healthy Eating and Cooking.

[<a href="//storify.com/sarahstanley/pillars-of-healthful-eating-and-cooking" target="_blank">View the story "Pillars of Healthful Eating and Cooking" on Storify</a>]

Cover photo credit: Swong95765

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What Is Clean Eating?

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What Is Clean Eating?

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What does “eat clean” mean? Chances are that you’ve seen this term thrown around on photos that don’t really mean “eat clean”. As I’m sure you know by now our food system is not what it was even just 100 years ago. Today we have Cappuccino flavored potato chips, dead animal parts in V8, artificial sugars in everything from bread to crackers to gum, and of course GMOs.

Time and time again I see posts with the hashtag #eatclean or #cleaneating on images or copy that is NOT clean. So let's clear this up.

Clean eating
Clean eating

What is "eat clean"? 

Free from GMOs To put it simply, GMOs are dirty and not clean. Look at what’s in GMO corn. It’s not clean by any standards! Currently the corn on the market today is about 88%. So if you aren’t careful about reading labels you could every easily be consuming GMOs. Corn isn’t just plain corn on the cob it’s also HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) which is found in countless processed products. Take a look at this graphic- corn is being used in many different forms and ways. Additionally commercial and factory farm animals are fed GMO corn- remember you eat what they eat! So if you don’t buy organic meat you are ingesting GMOs that way too. Note: cows were never created to eat grains in the first place- buy organic, grass-fed meat! And lastly, conventional processed products are 80% GMO contaminated. Just one more reason to stop consuming processed crap!

So, if your dairy or meat (and veggies, fruit) isn’t specified as non-GMO and/or organic. It’s not eat clean.

GMO corn graphic
GMO corn graphic

A quick note about Roundup. Roundup is the main weed pesticide produced by Monsanto. The active chemical in Roundup is Glyphosate and the consequences of this chemical is devastating. A few health problems from this chemical include but not limited to: birth defects, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Free from artificial flavors Eating clean means the food is free from artificial and “natural” flavors and sweeteners. Unless otherwise stated natural flavors are derived from beaver’s butts and other species that can cause severe allergic reactions. Read what you are about to eat very carefully!

Free from artificial sweeteners Real, clean food does not contain artificial sweeteners. All conventional processed products (note I didn’t write processed food) contains some kind of artificial sweeteners like Splenda (also goes by the name Sucralose), Equal, NutraSweet, etc. There are over 257 names for sugar and most of them are made in a lab and not found in nature. Raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, organic coconut sugar, organic blackstrap molasses are acceptable forms of sugar.

Free from additives Clean food does not have additives or preservatives. Did you make an organic beef burger and then spread commercial mustard or mayo on it? Be sure that even the “little things” you use are made with clean ingredients- including condiments! Processed products have to contain additives and preservatives so they have a long shelf life. Translated: a long shelf life means a short life. You want to buy food that goes bad quickly. Nature knows best!

Here is what clean/real food is: - organic (or grown without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides) - unprocessed - real food in whole form - mainly raw

Some examples of clean/real food: - Hemp Hearts - Nuts - Seeds - Vegetables - Fruits - Raw Cacao (not to be confused with processed cocoa powder) - Maca - Quinoa - Chia - Coconut - Legumes

Finally, let’s bring back integrity to how we live, eat, and what we post. Ask yourself if the hashtag you are using really describes the photo (or copy). By the way, Chobani is not eat clean- they use rBGH/rBST dairy. If you are a health professional know that people are watching what you post and be mindful of what you hashtags you use. There are many, many people out there who don’t know what #eatclean is and we are doing them a disservice when we use that hashtag on photos that have nothing to do with clean eating.

Be diligent to feed your body good, organic food. Have integrity in all that you do, say, write, live, eat, drink, think.

Sources:GMOs in animal feed

Monsanto Roundup

Roundup and health dangers

GMO corn

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at MIT, reveals how glyphosate wrecks human health

Learn more about GMOs

“Natural” flavoring

Sugar

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#WellnessChat: Be a Cancer Killer

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#WellnessChat: Be a Cancer Killer

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Be a cancer killer! This was our topic at #wellnesschat Thursday, July 31, 2014 with Dr. Matthew McAlees, Dr. David Jockers and Sayer Ji. This is a very educational and powerful message. Please read! It will change how you view cancer. Also, be sure to visit this site: Be a Cancer Killer.

[<a href="//storify.com/sarahstanley/be-a-cancer-killer-wellnesschat-recap" target="_blank">View the story "Be a Cancer Killer #wellnesschat recap " on Storify</a>]

Cover photo credit: Martin Stone

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The Dichotomy in the Faith Community

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The Dichotomy in the Faith Community

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As a believer and part of the faith community I can't but help see what's happening in terms of our health and it's not okay with me. It's no wonder why those who aren't in the faith don't see a difference in our lives and laugh at us! The faith community has bought into the lie of processed foods, GMOs, and disease. We eat the same crap, participate in the sin of gluttony, addicts to fast death ("food"), and let's not forget that these products causes a host of diseases (including cancer!) and health problems (infertility , birth defects, heart disease, stroke, headaches). Additionally, obesity is impacting the church at a massive level, cancer rates have remained unchanged in the last 50 years- and remember that cancer can only thrive in unhealthy bodies. Regardless of your faith denomination (Baptist, Lutheran, Non-denominational...) it's way past time that the faith community see that how they are living, eating, drinking, buying is anything but God glorifying.

What Dr. Russell Blaylock says in the talk below (please, please listen to it) will show you how Christians are defiling the God they say they serve. It's impossible to feed the soul good [spiritual] food and ignore what we are putting in our bodies.

God provided organic food for us to nourish our body with- not GMOs and frankenfoods. GMOs were created for greater profits increased pesticides, and worse of all, patented. Not at all what God intended for this world! (Genesis 1:29)

As Christians it's imperative that we wake up to what is going on around us and change where buy our food and what we are putting in and our bodies. God intended for us to have health not increased disease! We need to live in harmony with the one who created us

In the talk below you'll learn how the processed frankenfoods have ruined our health and our earth and what you can do about it!

To glorify God we must eat the foods that God made (organic, in their natural state), not that man made.

Are you a believer who is currently eating and consuming GMOs, processed crap? Have you bought into the lie that your life is no different from non-believers? How will you change your health today?

My heart is truly burdened for my country and the faith community. I will continue to live, speak, write about this topic for as long as I shall live.

xo

Photo credit: Matt Stangis

 

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Why Going Meatless Is The New Black

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Why Going Meatless Is The New Black

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Monday health lesson! Since Monday is known as ‪#‎MeatlessMonday‬ let's tackle the issue of meat!

1) Let's talk about the sustainability of consuming meat. It takes about 2,500 gallons of clean water to produce one pound of beef. Already 780 million people do not have access to clean water! See point number 4 for more on this sustainability issue of consuming meat. California is in record drought. How can we continue to do nothing about this crisis? Not having water is a life/death issue. Eating meat is not essential to life. (Amazing Race aside!) 

2) Ninety-nine percent of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms (pack animals into tight or confined spaces, caged, no outdoor air, unclear air inside the pens, unnatural reproduction, short lifespan). In addition, these factory farms use hormone and antibiotic (the meat industry uses 80 percent of all the antibiotics in the U.S.) injections (make the cows fatter to slaughter faster to get paycheck faster). When a person eats this kind of "meat" they are ingesting those hormones and antibiotics which leads to many health problems and diseases (early puberty, hormonal issues), It's ironic to me that people don't like when athletes/humans inject steroids but seem to have no problem when it comes to meat and dairy. You can't have one and not the other. Why is it okay for animals to be injected, but not humans? It doesn't make sense.

3) Most people aren't even eating "real meat"! As the above point states, 99 percent of meat is factory farm meat which is fake meat. So if a person chooses to eat meat, they MUST know where it came from, how it was raised, what it ate, if given hormones/antibiotics. It must be real meat on a stick. Not hormones on a stick. Lesson: you eat what it eats. (Think about it.)

4) Here's a great way to see how much water your eating lifestyle uses (i.e. consuming meat). Many times we just go about our day without evening blinking or breathing- we're just going through the motions. Life is about connecting to whatever you are doing, eating, living, breathing! By getting back to the basics and making a connection to what you are about to eat, drink, move, etc, you will life will begin to make sense.

5) If you decide to keep eating meat, please make sure it is local, raised humanely, grass-fed, NO hormones/antibiotics, and always, always, organic. You can't make something unhealthy, healthy. Someone recently asked me if homemade pulled pork made in a smoker or chicken on a smoker was healthier. When I asked what kind of meat he was buying he replied "Costco". Health starts from the ground up - literally. If the soil is dead [GMOs from RoundUp, no crop rotation, no field rest], the food will be dead. If the animal is dead (hormones, antibiotics, caged, etc), the meat is dead. No amount of "healthy" BBQ sauce or dressings will make something healthy. Really, really look at what kind of meat you are buying. Is it really meat to begin with? Remember, your purchases say so much about you and what you say you stand for!   

6) Make fresh, organic, real plants the main attraction on your plate. If you must, make meat a very little side portion. There is no compelling reason to make meat the center of attraction. If you eat meat 3x a day, start by eating 1x a day and then a few days a week. Switch from meat protein to beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, Hemp Hearts, quinoa...see how many wonderful options there are?!

7) Vegetarian lifestyles reduce greenhouse gases by 33 percent and mortality by 20 percent (see link below). A plant-based lifestyle is more than just not eating meat, it's about caring for the earth, land, air, water, people. If we don't have an earth we have none of those things.

8) Going meat free helps prevent cancer (red meat is directly associated with colon cancer), heart disease, obesity, diabetes to name a few. Meat

9) Lunchables, hotdogs, McD's, Burger King, etc products are not meat but disease in wrapper. Lunchables ingredients: - Hydrogenated Oils - Artificial Flavors - Mechanically Separated Chicken - MSG - Sodium Nitrites

I probably don't have to tell you that these ingredients lead to disease, cancer, obesity...not cool.

10) Compassion. I think most of us say we are compassionate people but I wonder if that's really, really true? Like I've said many times our purchases say a lot about what we stand for, what we believe, and how we live. If we're eating fast death (aka, fast "food"), Big Food, etc, we're not having compassion for our earth, land, air, water, animals, people. It's high time that we look at what we are buying and make adjustments.

So, what do you eat? Plants! Lots and lots of organic plants! Check out Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. Quinoa, chia seeds, kale, nuts, seeds- the earth is full of protein- without eating animals.

As in the above points, if you must eat meat, make sure it meets (meats?!) these criteria: - local - organic - pastured raised (especially with chickens/eggs) - grass fed - no added hormones or antibiotics (organic will take care of this)

And begin to eat less meat and more fresh, local organic plants! Your health, earth, air, water will thank you!

Note:

I (Sarah) am a strong, healthy ultra endurance athlete on a 100% organic, real food, plant-based lifestyle. Proof that (organic) plants really are awesome!

Sources cited plus resources:

>> 2,500 gallons of water: http://www.vegsource.com/articles/factoids.htm >> John Robbins on water and meat:http://www.earthsave.org/environment/water.htm >> Clean water: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/ >> What is a factory farm? http://www.aspca.org/fight-cruelty/farm-animal-cruelty/what-factory-farm >> Hormones in meat: http://www.sustainabletable.org/258/hormones >> Health and added hormones:http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5543.cfm >> Vegetarian lifestyles: http://grist.org/list/vegetarians-live-longer-pollute-less-and-you-no-longer-have-to-take-their-word-for-it/ >> Preventing disease and certain cancers with plant-based lifestyle:http://plantbaseddietitian.com/plant-based-diet-benefits/ >> How to go plant-based: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/go-plant-based/

>> Meat industry uses 80% of all the antibiotics in the U.S.

>> Facebook pages to like and follow: Moxie DietitianNo Meat AthletePlant-Based DietitianSarah Stanley Inspired LivingBrendan BrazierMy Kind of Life

Cheers to a healthy life!

Cover photo credit: Nicholas Tonelli

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How You Changed My Life (a wellprint testimony)

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How You Changed My Life (a wellprint testimony)

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One of the rewarding things about the work I get to do is to hear firsthand the positive stories of how people are changing their lives! I worked with this couple earlier in the year and it was a joy to help them on their healthy living journey! They were willing to change, worked extremely hard to implement said changes and were proactive in making new healthy habits. They sent me photos of labels of food, beauty and other products. Then during our video sessions I would explain the ingredients in them and why they were good or not so good. It was a joy to help them. I couldn't be prouder of them! A few weeks ago Toby and Laura sent me this letter and they wanted to share their story with you so you too could see what life was like before and after! I hope it gives you the hope that you too can change your life!

If you want help in learning how to make healthy habits, change your eating habits, or just have questions about what you are putting in your body, I'd be happy to work with you!  Just use the contact form to get in touch with me.

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From Toby and Laura:

If you are visiting Sarah’s website, considering whether this lifestyle could be worth trying, then you are like my wife and I seven months ago.

We are a couple in our early 30’s, living in the beautiful county of Buckinghamshire in the UK.  We lived what we considered to be a relatively healthy life.  We cooked meals at home, made sure we ate fruit and veg, and were wary of food high in fat or sugar.  But we didn’t do this consistently, and would often rely on convenient, processed food.  We also ate food that we knew wasn’t particularly healthy for us.  Crisps and chocolates, occasion trips to McDonalds or other fast food chains, takeaways etc.  But it was all in moderation.

I first met Sarah via Twitter, after following one of her Health Talks.  At the time she was running a promotion to win a 6 week Holiday Wellness program, which I was lucky enough to win a place on.  Over these 6 weeks, my wife and I began to learn more about a plant based diet, and by the end we decided it was worth a try.

6 months later, and we would never consider going back.  I have seen improvements, but I want to talk about my wife, Laura.  The changes she has seen is nothing short of amazing, and inspired me to write this to let people know you can change, and it’s a change worth making.

Laura was constantly ill.  Most of the time it was low level (general aches and pains, bloating, lethargic), but there was always something up.  And when she got a cold or a virus of some type, it would lay her out for days.  She suffers from IBS, and this caused her constant problems.  And she never had any energy, and never wanted to do anything except crash on the sofa.

The change in her was as quick as it was dramatic.  She lost 2 stone in weight, despite vastly increasing her calorie intake.  In addition, her skin & hair have improved, and she has a healthy “glow” about her.  She is constantly being told how well she looks, and asked how she has done it.

But more importantly, her overall health has greatly improved.  She actually has energy to do things; when she comes home from work she wants to do more than simply sit on the sofa and watch TV.  She feels good as well, with the normal aches, pains and ailments no longer present.  And when she has fallen ill, her body has been able to fight it off far quicker than in the past.

You too can reap the benefits that Laura has.  It may seem like a monumental change, but it won’t be long until like us, you look back and can’t imagine living that way.  I’m no nutrition expert, and there are plenty of websites out there that will provide you with excellent advice (this website is a good place to start!).

But I can tell you some of lessons we learned on our journey.  We have made massive changes in our lives, and hopefully our experience will make yours a little bit smoother:

1.) Baby Steps

You don’t need to jump in head first and change everything all at once.  Laura and I have slowly changed the way we live, one step at a time.  This way it isn’t such a shock to the system, and you are more likely to stay the path.  I suggest start by banning processed food from your diet.  Keep eating the same sort of stuff, but make it yourself, don’t rely on jars and cans.  When you see the benefits this simple step will give you, you will want to take it further.

2.) Look at the nutrients, not calories

Don’t look at food and think “how many calories am I eating?”; instead think “what nutrients am I eating?”.  Do this consistently, and you will be amazed at how your perception of food will change.

3.) Don’t aim to lose weight, aim to get healthy

Laura lost two stone [28 pounds] without even thinking about it. All that she focussed on was eating well, and getting healthy.  If you do this, losing weight is a natural by-product. [Sarah's note: we never once talked about counting calories or having things in "moderation". We simply focused on the kind of foods she was eating.]

4.) You will be confused

Kale, nutritional yeast, samphire, cacao powder.  This is a small selection of food that I had never heard of, but now forms a part of my daily diet.  There is a host of food out there which you will likely have never heard of, but will do you a power of good.  There are also a host of food out there that you probably eat on a regular basis that are damaging to your long term health.  Working out what you should be eating, and where you can get it from, is a confusing journey.

5.) But don’t worry, there is plenty of help

The confusing journey described above will eventually lead you to a local health food shop, as a lot of the food you will need is simply not available from chain supermarkets.  Health food shops can be overwhelming, with shelves full of strange items that you don’t know what they are, or what you need.  But don’t let this put you off.  Everyone was like this at one point, and there are a host of helpful sources of information to help you navigate your way around, whether this be assistants in the shop (or other shoppers), or websites like Sarah’s.

6.) Read ingredients

You may think “I do”, but I mean really read them.  I realised that I would often scan the ingredients list, skipping over items if I didn’t know what it was.  But these are the ingredients you really need to be focusing on.  If there are any ingredients that you don’t know what it actually is, you need to question if it is something you want in your body.  I guarantee there is something you eat on a regular basis that you consider good for you, but when you look at the ingredients you will find it isn’t as good as you thought.

7.) Be prepared

One of the toughest things you will need to give up is convenience.  I used to struggle some days to find the time to prepare a meal, and would opt for quick options like fast food, or microwave meals.  That’s no longer an option.  By organising yourself and preparing food ahead of time, it removes the need to rely on the heavily processed convenience food.

8.) Persevere

You will end up eating something you don’t like the taste of.  And your diet and what your taste buds have become accustomed to will affect how difficult you find it.  But persevere, and trust me, you will grow to love foods you use to hate.  When I first tried Kale, I wasn’t impressed.  It’s now an essential part of my daily diet.

9.) You will miss certain foods

A plant based diet is full of food that is not only rich in nutrients, but provides a cornucopia of flavours and textures you will love.  You really can’t beat taste of freshly prepared food.  But that doesn’t mean you won’t miss McDonalds, or other fast food.  7 months on, and I still have moments where I could happily eat a large McDonalds meal with a strawberry milkshake.  But I remember point number 2.  What nutrients will I get from eating it?  The answer?  Nothing.  So what’s the point?  Is the few moments after you’ve swallowed and before the taste has faded really worth your long term health?  There are plenty of alternatives that taste just as good.  Different, but just as good.

Making wholesale changes to your life is never an easy or quick process.  Laura and I have made great strides to changing the way we live for the better, but we still have a long way to go, and still have a lot to learn.  I hope the above advice will help you take those first steps to a long and healthy life.

If you want to ask Laura or myself a question about our experience, or simply want to comment about this article, you can find us on twitter (@tobysmith69 and @LauraE69).

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Laura before wellprint
Laura before wellprint
Laura after wellprint
Laura after wellprint

Thank you, Toby and Laura for sharing your healthy story and journey with us! Again, I couldn't be prouder of you both and I'm so happy I could help you along the way! Thank you for letting me be a part of your healthy journey. xo

Cover photo credit: Steve Jurvetson

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The Truth About Calories, Stress & Sleep

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The Truth About Calories, Stress & Sleep

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Every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST #wellnesschat takes place on Twitter. Be sure to join in the live conversation! July 10, 2014 Dietitian Cassie was our guest and she talked about calories, stress, sleep. Scroll through this chat and you'll learn a thing or two (or twenty!)

[<a href="//storify.com/sarahstanley/wellnesschat-july-10-2014-the-truth-about-calorie" target="_blank">View the story "#wellnesschat July 10, 2014 The Truth About Calories" on Storify</a>]

Cover photo credit: Luke Ma

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 War On Obesity

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War On Obesity

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First, it was the mantra “fat makes you fat.” Now it is the mantra that “carbs make you fat.” Perhaps the next hot topic will be “protein makes you fat”??? The problem with these reductionist viewpoints about food is that we ignore the fundamental issues in our Westernized food system. Our bodies need all major macronutrients at varying levels. Inherently, fats, carbohydrates, and protein are not bad for our bodies and each macronutrient plays important roles for normal body functioning. Additionally, there are many “right ways” to eat, perhaps some are also inherently better than others when it comes to disease risks and outcomes. However, getting hung-up in our “dietary-tribes”, as Andy Bellatti, MS, RD suggests, largely ignores the common thread to many healthy dietary patters---healthy diets are relatively low in processed foods, trans fats, added sugars, and artificial ingredients. Ultimately, it is the overall quality and dietary patterns that either promote or prevent diseases. Reductionism about food can also undermine the importance of creating sustainable food systems that promote not only good health for our nation, but also promote good health for our global population and the Earth. I recently published a blog post in response to the “war on fat” that was featured in TIME magazine. I was troubled by the journalist’s misrepresented, and possibly skewed viewpoint on what has fueled the fire for America’s obesity and chronic disease crisis. It appeared to me that the journalist’s main conclusion is that carbohydrates, regardless of where they come from, make people fat and cause heart disease. While the journalist does makes some valid points, such that fat is important in our diets and that Americans are eating too much refined carbohydrates, he did miss key points and many other possible causes for the rise of chronic diseases and obesity in America. When talking about the rise of chronic disease, we cannot ignore the role trans fat has had in the food supply, the rise of fast food establishments, health disparities, factory farmed animal products, and increased consumption of food eaten away from the home. We cannot ignore the fact that many Americans are not even meeting the recommendations for whole fruits and vegetables. My response to TIME can be found here: “10 key points on the “war against obesity”

The approach to solving America’s health crisis suggested by the journalist appears biased towards a fairly low carb, high fat, and high protein diet. While low carbohydrate diets can help people lose weight, there is also evidence that a whole, foods plant-based diet can do the same. So rather than continuing to foster American’s obsession with reductionism about nutrients, I believe TIME’s main message should have been more like this: “Eat more plants! Eat less highly processed and refined foods! Learn to cook from scratch!” I think most health providers would agree that Americans need to eat less fast-food, sugary beverages, fried food, chips, cookies, candies….and so on, and learn how to prepare and enjoy eating more fruits and vegetables in their natural state.

As health professionals and consumers, we also need to start talking more about how we can create a healthy population, while also creating a healthy planet. For example, factory farmers, which have been created to increase production of animal products for a growing population, are largely contributing to many of our environmental and climate change issues around the world. Suggesting a high consumption of animal products may not be a sustainable solution for solving our global health crisis (see: UNEP 2012 on Meat and greenhouse gas emissions, Johns Hopkins on antibiotic resistance).

When making recommendations on how to solve our American health crisis, we must also consider the implications this has on our food system. What ramifications do these recommendations have on our environment? Are these recommendations sustainable and cost-effective solutions that ALL Americans (including lower income populations) and ALL nations can participate in?

Many institutions, non- profit, and/or advocate organizations would agree that shifting our plates to include whole, plant-based foods is a solution for both mitigating the effects of climate change and improving human health (see: Johns Hopkins Meatless Monday, Why Hunger on climate change, Harvard Sustainability on plant-based, World Watch on “Is meat Sustainable?”, Food Tank on meat’s water footprint, Johns Hopkins on health and environment, University of Minnesota on feeding 4 billion more. Research Articles: Masset et al. 2014, Scarborough et al 2014 )

Tips for prevent chronic disease and protect the Earth:

Eat whole plant-based foods, including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Eat combinations of the macronutrients at each meal/ snack (e.g. peanut butter (fat/ protein) with an apple (carbohydrate)). Learn to listen to your body for hunger, fullness, and thirst cues. Strive to eat seven total servings of fruits and vegetables for optimal health benefits. If you eat animal products, purchase organic and consume less of them (see: Myths of Protein). Try a few meatless meals per week, or maybe become a weekday vegetarian. Eat less highly processed foods and fast food, and learn to cook/ prepare foods from their natural state (e.g. making baked sweet potato fries rather than McDonald’s french fires; eating homemade kale chips rather than Doritos). If feasible, choose to eat all or majority organic foods. When possible, shop at local farmers markets to support small farmers in your communities. And don't forget Michael Pollen's famous quote, Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

In good health,

Kristina

kAD
kAD

Find me on Twitter or Facebook

Cover photo credit: Tawest64

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Looking for A Few Good People

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Looking for A Few Good People

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If you haven't seen the statistics, by 2030 if current trends continue 51% of the population will be obese. Not just overweight, but OBESE. That means we will have more unhealthy people than healthy, alive, radiant, disease-fighting people! Obesity increases:

- Cancer  (esophagus, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), colon and rectum, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder, and many others)

- Type 2 diabetes

- Mental health

- Loss in work productivity

-  Alzheimer's

- And many, many other negative health diseases and consequences

I don't know about you but I'm going to do everything I can to help turn this unhealthy ship around. In a few short (although they seem long!) months we're launching a brand new wellness startup that is going to hopefully change the landscape of our health and the wellness field. And I want you to be a part of it and throw your name into the ring of being part of the solution!

To get started fill out the form below. Once you submit it someone from our team (probably me, Sarah) will be in touch with you. If you know someone that would be a good fit, please forward this link to them.

I look forward to creating a healthier world and healthier generation with you!

xo,

Sarah

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2 Comments

3 Amazing Superfoods

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3 Amazing Superfoods

Acai bowl

Do you eat superfoods? Superfoods (organic of course) are needed by the body for optimal health, disease prevention, and overall wellness! There are so many superfoods it was hard to narrow down the list, but here are 3 amazing superfoods to incorporate into your lifestyle starting today! (And of course they are naturally gluten free.)Chia

You've probably heard of chia but not known why it's so good for you! For starters the nutritional profile includes protein, iron, calcium, fiber, omega-3s, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B1- as you can see, chia is a nutritional powerhouse! All of these minerals and vitamins are essential for your health- your heart, helping with stress (B Vitamins), your bones, blood. This why I always say eat for health.

How to use:

Chia seeds are really easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. They make a great addition to your reusable, non-plastic water bottle for physical activity (I use while running ultra marathons and ultra cycling). Because chia seeds hold up to 12 times their weight they expand and make a fantastic binder. You can make jam (check this recipe out for Strawberry Jam), coconut pudding, you can bake with chia flour, and if you need additional fiber, chia seeds also make a great choice (please don't take Metamucil)!

You can buy chia seeds here.

Hemp

One of my favorite superfoods is hemp! Hemp is a complete protein meaning that it contains all 10 essential amino acids. It's also full of good, healthy fats and omegas 3 and 6 which help the health of skin and hair, hormone balance, reduce inflammation, heart health. It's important to note that hemp is the only food course of GLA (omega-6) which is why it's such an amazing superfood! Hemp also contains iron, fiber, magnesium, and many other amazing real nutrients for your body!

How to use:

Hemp seeds are extremely versatile to use. My main tip is to get creative with them. Sprinkle on salads, make hemp mylk, add to smoothies (great for after a workout!), make a quinoa hemp salad or a nut+hemp heart cereal topped with fresh organic fruit. Yum!

You can buy Hemp Hearts here.

Bee Pollen

Organic {made from scratch} Acai Bowl
Organic {made from scratch} Acai Bowl

How to use:

Sprinkle on top of an organic acai bowl, on top of organic smoothies, and straight up (on a spoon) and before and after a workout.

Where to buy bee pollen, read this. 

Note: If you have never eaten bee pollen before, start taking it slowly with one or two granules under the tongue. If your body handles it fine, increase the amount a little each day. The amount will vary from person to person. After your body is used to it, increase amount and take it daily.

What are your favorite superfoods?

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Make It A Meatless Summer

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Make It A Meatless Summer

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  Summertime is a great time to explore more meatless meals, especially with the abundance of fruits and vegetables in the Farmer’s Market! Over the past few months, I have written several blogs about the many reasons to cutback on eating meat and adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

  1. HEALTH. Meat, especially red and processed meat increases the risk of cancer. A new report on the cancer guidelines suggests cutting back on meat. Eating more whole, plant-based foods not only decreases your risk of chronic diseases like cancer, but it also can increase the amount of fiber and phytochemicals in your diet (My blog on Cancer).
  2. COST. I took a grocery store tour several months ago and decided that I could feed about 60+ people quinoa and lentils for $18.48 vs. a 3.5 pound bag (about 6-9 breasts) of organic chicken at $20- $21. Swapping expensive meat with economical plant-based proteins can help save money and/or increase spending on organic fruits and vegetables! Farmers markets or CSAs are great ways to support your local communities and take advantage of great prices on fresh food! (my blog on myths about protein).
  3. ENVIRONMENT. Livestock and animal products are not sustainable; at least at the rates Americans (and other “developed” countries) eat them. Not only do meat and animal products contribute to green house gases, larger farms have also created astronomical environmental impacts, such as dead zones in the oceans and rivers from manure runoffs. (My blog on stewardship).
  4. INCREASE FOOD PRODUCTION FOR HUMANS TO EAT. Lowering the production of meat and dairy, Round River Farmers in Minnesota discovered that the region of Western Lake Superior would be able to produce enough food to feed the entire community. A Standard American Diet (SAD) would require over 500,000 acres of land and would only produce enough food for 83% of the region. Conversely, a diet lower in meat and dairy would require about 375,000 acres of land and would feed 100% of the region! Shifting towards a plant-based diet would decrease the supply and demand of animal products. means less land needed to grow feed for animals and less land needed to house animals in Factory Farms or land for grazing. Instead of using the land for soy, corn, and animals, the land could be used to grow enough organic fruits and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations for Americans...... because currently, we fail at that. (My blog from the Healthy Lives Conference).

Learning about healthier meatless options and exploring new recipes can be an exciting adventure! Reframe your perspective--- think about it as adding flavor and health to your life!! 

Great plant-based sources of protein: beans (chickpeas, black beans, soybeans, edamame, kidney beans, mung beans…..), lentils, split peas, tofu, nuts, seeds (chia, hemp), quinoa, nutritional yeast, and tempeh!

Here are some meatless-meal ideas to get you started:

1. Swap the Burger for a bean burger or a Portobello mushroom.

Portobello Mushroom and Cashew Cheese Burger

Italian Bean Balls

Black Bean Quinoa Burger

Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers

Quarter Pounder Beet Burger

2. Grill  fruits and veggies rather than meat.

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

3. If you don’t have celiac disease, try some homemade seitan!

Seitan ribs

Seitan Negimaki

4. Try a quinoa salad!

Quinoa salad with black bean and mango

Grilled Asparagus and chili orange quinoa spring rolls

Curried Coconut Quinoa

5. Almond or pistachio crusted tofu instead of fish

My pistachio crusted tofu recipe

6. Tempeh instead of chicken

Sweet and Sour Tempeh

 7.  Bean or Lentils for a fiber and protein packed meal

Lentil Tacos

BBQ Chili (my brothers love this one over baked sweet potato fries!)

Lemon dill bean salad

Spicy Lentil Sloppy Joes

Chickpea “tuna” Salad

8. Zucchini "pasta" salad with a peanut sauce

Zucchini noodles with a peanut sauce

9. Sarah and I also dig these Mung Bean and Black Bean pastas. 23-25 grams of protein per serving!

mung beans
mung beans

Super tasty with a peanut sauce, tomato sauce, homemade pesto, cashew "blue cheese" dressing, or homemade salad dressing!

10. Check out my Pinterest Boards or the Meatless Monday Pinterest Board for more Meatless Summer ideas! 

kAD
kAD

In good health,

Kristina

To learn more about plant-based living, find me on Twitter and Facebook!

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A Gluten-Free Refresher Course

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A Gluten-Free Refresher Course

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By now you've probably seen the Jimmy Kimmel gluten-free video clip. Many people who are eating gluten free don't have any idea why they are! So I thought it would be good to write a gluten free refresher course and also answer some frequent gluten questions. #1) What is gluten?

Gluten is the protein found in certain types of grains such as wheat, couscous, barley, rye, spelt, durum, bulgur, Gluten is what holds the bread, muffins, pastries together.

#2) Who should not consume gluten?

This is a really important question and probably why there is so much confusion over gluten free! The people that must stay away from gluten are those with Celiac Disease, gluten allergy and gluten intolerance. Those with Celiac Disease are the most crucial group to not consume gluten as even cross-contamination can trigger adverse health responses.

#3) What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the digestive system with secondary symptoms such as depression, brain fog, reflux and in some extreme cases, vomiting. (Note: this is why healing the gut is so important as it affects much of our health - our gut is called the second brain for a reason.)

#4) Is gluten bad?

To answer this simply, no, gluten is not inherently "bad". It is "bad" for those with Celiac Disease, gluten allergy, gluten intolerant. What's "bad" is the processed products that are generally contain gluten. These ingredients include white refined flour, sugar, artificial dyes, preservatives, man-made fats.

#5) Should I go gluten free?

This can be a tricky question to answer as most people asking this aren't one of the three groups of people above (Celiac, allergy, intolerant). As seen in the Jimmy Kimmel gluten free interview, no one had any idea why they were gluten free let alone what gluten was! This is where I always ask people (again, after ruling out the three groups of people that can't have gluten) why they want to go gluten free. Generally, people have seen a celebrity crediting their gluten free ways as a method to lose weight. Or a talk show host talking about the latest diet trend i.e. gluten free and weight loss. What people need to remember is that our food system (for more on this topics, check out Food Babe and Robyn O'Brien) is not what it used to be. When I counsel and consult people if they should go "gluten free" or not is to get back to the basics. That means to eat real, organic foods in their natural state. Breaking news: it might not be the gluten making you sick but the other ingredients (BHT, artificial dyes, GMO ingredients, artificial sweeteners, sugars that are.

#6) Are gluten free products better?

Another great question! There is a major difference between gluten free products and gluten free foods. The latter are naturally gluten free in their original state. Naturally gluten free, organic foods (i.e. quinoa, Hemp Hearts, chia seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut oil, kale, spinach, etc), are always going to be optimal for your health, the planet, the environment. The concern with many gluten free products is that some contain less than desirable ingredients that are more harmful than helpful! I looked at a package of gluten free pretzels recently and the ingredient list was quite alarming (palm oil, soy lecithin, GMO corn to name a few). Yes, it might have been "gluten free" but the ingredients that made up the pretzels is not magic for a healthy body. Since most people who are looking into going gluten free are generally looking to lose weight or maintain their weight the best thing they can do is to eat a nutrient-dense organic food lifestyle. Check out this post for what real, organic foods are and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle! If you are looking to go gluten free, choose naturally gluten free, organic, real foods. A "diet" (as in the foods you eat) that is heavy in gluten free processed products will still cause health problems. Remember, a gluten free label doesn't always mean a healthy product.

Note: There are many reasons to why a person has trouble digesting gluten, losing weight, gaining weight and the answer is not always a straight shot to simply go "gluten free". It can certainly help, but shouldn't stop there. By seeking professional advice, healing the gut, healing from emotional trauma/abuse (a frequent cause of autoimmune diseases), the questions turn into answers and ultimately, health. But a friendly reminder that it is a process and not an overnight quick fix.

#7) If I go gluten free, will I lose weight?

As alluded to in the above question, going gluten free is not a quick solution to a long-term problem. Going gluten free might help in losing weight, but if the overall lifestyle of a person isn't changed, gluten free alone isn't the magic potion. (Sorry!) People who tend to eat gluten free and lose weight is because they no longer eat the same products they once were.

#8) What do I do now? Where do I go from here?

Remember the basics of gluten free eating: eat naturally gluten free, organic, real foods. Heal the gut by taking quality probiotics. Make digestive health a top priority (limit or cut out sugar all together, take probiotics and digestive enzymes). Talk with other people in the gluten free community. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Cheers!

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cover photo credit: Ding Yuin Shan

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