Viewing entries tagged
Wellness

The Elephant In The Pews

Comment

The Elephant In The Pews

This is a rhetorical question, but begs being asked regardless. Why do Christians complain about their preventable health conditions and then pray to be healed but do nothing (or the very minimum) to change their toxic lifestyle?

Spirituality is plural, not singular. Sitting in the pew for 1 hour of our week but living haphazardly the other 167 hours of the week leads to being sick in the mind+body+spirit. 

What we chose to eat/drink/read/watch/listen/hang out with can either nourish our temple or harm it. 

It's going to be difficult to be in a happy mood when we are doped up on coffee, sugar, donuts, little sleep, barely move our body... We may not need prayer for our condition but instead ACTION to clean up our lifestyle so it is congruent with what we say to profess.  

Obesity, sleep apnea, Type Two diabetes, cancer, mood, heart disease, stroke, energy, etc...are all preventable diseases by the proper lifestyle choices.

Honestly, how can we complain about our health when we aren't taking care of this temple to begin with??

It's like complaining that the car won't run or is always breaking down but yet we never put gas in the fuel tank, changed the oil, fixed the tire...or these examples:

It's like complaining that it's raining while standing in the driveway of a mansion when someone is standing in the doorway screaming for you to come inside. But you just ignore them and keep asking God to rescue you.

This also reminds me of the man on his roof in the rising waters of a flood. As he was praying for rescue, a boat came by. He said, no thank you, God will rescue me. As the boat sped away he continued to pray and a second, larger boat came by and threw a life buoy. He screamed, "That's okay. God will rescue me!" Standing firm in his resolve he stood with his hands to the sky in fervent prayer as a helicopter approached and lowered a basket. The man sent it away as well. 

When the flood waters overtook him, he drowned and stood before the throne of God in heaven. Perplexed, he said, "my God, why did you forsake me?" He answered sternly, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?" 

And so it goes with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and on and on and on. "Lord heal me while I kill myself."

Dear professing Christians, it is (past) high time that we start living out our faith by taking the utmost care of this temple: mind+body+spirit.

This 'elephant in the pews' is a topic that the church is largely ignoring and it's killing us. Literally. But not on my watch. I want to use the time that I've been given to help those in the faith community learn how to live well in mind+body+spirit. 

Comment

The Connection Between Money and Your Health

Comment

The Connection Between Money and Your Health

Money and health closely parallel each other.

Frivolous and careless spending leads to debt, perhaps even bankruptcy, stress.

Being frivolous and careless with what you eat and how you treat your temple (body) leads to sickness, disease, stress, general unhealthiness. It's bankruptcy in the wellness department. 

Think of your health as an investment that gives you a return even after you pass away. Because how you live today impacts the next 5-6 generations, some choices even 1000 years (using plastic bags)!

You can go into debt for that fancy handbag (that's made from an animal and unethical labor) that will rip and tear OR you can buy a Global Mamas handbag that is made with fair trade labor and supports ethics and values. 

You can buy that processed cheeseburger and shake (that violates ethics and morals) that will contribute to your disease OR you can go to your local organic farm/farmers market/health food store and buy kale+hemp hearts that will contribute to your overall prevention of disease.  

Everything is connected together. From what you think, from what you eat, from you hang out with, what you listen to, what you read- it ALL has an effect on your wellbeing!

If your health (or spending) is out of control, take a serious look at the fright train heading your way. Please don't wait till it's too late. 

Think before you spend. 

Think before you purchase disease. 

Comment

4 Apps To Encourage and Grow Your Faith

1 Comment

4 Apps To Encourage and Grow Your Faith

Wellness is plural- mind+body+spirit. We are what we eat (absorb), drink, think. Faith and spirituality are an integral part of my life. (Note: spirituality is not the same religious.) Believing in something greater than yourself is what enables us to get through the difficult times in our life. It makes life have a purpose. Meaning. The first 5 minutes of our day set the tone for the next 900 minutes of our day! Instead of cursing at your alarm, checking email, cruising social media, start your day with meditation! Here are 4 apps that I start my day with and reflect back to during the day.

Strong faith. Strong body. Live well in mind+body+spirit!

Echo app
Echo app

1.) Echo. This is a great app for tracking prayer requests. I love looking back at prayer requests and seeing how they were answered!

PAYG app
PAYG app

2.) PAYG. This is another great app to start your day with!  Music, scripture, reflection, help set you up for positive day ahead. Get it here.

Bible app
Bible app

3.) Bible. YouVersion has made it possible to have the Bible available in your hand, pocket! Every translation, devotionals, social and friend community, verse of the day, this is a great app to download. 

DVO app
DVO app

4.) DVO. This is probably one of my favorite apps. It's not only beautiful, but inspirational and makes me think. The beautiful images can be saved to your camera roll and shared or used as screen savers. Get it here

Cover photo credit: ActiveSteve

1 Comment

How To Manage The Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

Comment

How To Manage The Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

Today we released our 2014 Holiday Wellness Guide. Be sure to get your copy of this beautiful guide. It's packed full of practical and helpful insights (plus a fair trade gift guide, recipes, workouts, how not to get sick) to help you get through the holidays. Get yours here.  ----

Once a month I get the honor of co-hosting Everyday Health #HealthTalk on Twitter. Today I talked about how to have a healthy holiday. Here's the recap for your benefit!

----

  1. One of the keys to having a healthy holiday is to make your health a priority. Eat real food, drink filtered H2O, move body!
  2. You don't have to let parties and dinners derail your health. Every choice we make adds up. Make wise ones. :)
  3. Instead of trying to force yourself to stay on your "diet" rephrase that to eating real food. Bring your food to party!
  4. Be the healthy example at holiday parties and family gatherings. Setting the positive example is empowering!
  5. Keep blood sugars balanced! Always have a healthy fat, healthy carb, healthy protein when eating to do so.
  6. If you are making dishes, read the ingredients before cooking/baking. Use real (organic) food ingredients to cook with!
  7. Shift the focus from unhealthy food to making organic real food meals/dishes and spending time with those you care about.
  8. No box mixes, cans, plastic packages, okay?! Use organic sprouted grain bread to make stuffing. Buy organic fresh green beans.
  9. FYI: the whole moderation thing is a myth as it always refers to toxic food-like products. Eat real organic food & find freedom!
  10. Make daily, physical activity a natural part of your life! When it's as natural as breathing, you won't even think about it!
  11. You don't need a fancy gym to be active. Walking is free! And 3 at-home workouts here.
  12. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to "do it all"! Less is more. Stress happens when things are out of order, control.
  13. Tip 2: don't cram so much into one day. Give yourself enough time to do one thing well. Do you really, really have to_____?
  14. Breathing really helps when feeling overwhelmed. Stuck in traffic? Focus on your breath. Running late? Focus on your breath.
  15. Incorporating an vinyasa yoga practice into your life is also very beneficial. Get upside down to gain a new perspective.
  16. The first 5min of your day set the tone for the rest of it. Mediate, pray, journal, breathe. Set positive intentions/actions!
  17. Try kombucha! It's a probiotic drink that has all the health benefits but none of the impacts of alcoholic drinks!
  18. Happiness doesn't come from a drink, remember. Ask yourself why you **have** to drink. There are way better options for you!
  19. Here's something you can try: non-GMO Mocktails.
  20. There's a reason why we do what we do. But often we are disconnected from the why. Spend time figuring out the why.
  21. Organic herbal tea is also a fantastic choice! Boil water in a tea kettle...get back to the basics. :)
  22. Organic cold-pressed juices are also wonderful! Have a juicing party. :)
  23. Holidays can bring up a lot of memories, some good, some painful. Find healthy ways to cope and manage them.
  24. You have control what goes in your mouth. When at a party be in charge of your health, your body, your legacy!
  25. Organic healthy fats keep you full: avocado, ghee, coconut, nuts, seeds, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. Eat daily.
  26. Don't go into a party starving! This will only sabotage your goals, life, wellness. Keep food with you (nuts, seeds, veggies, clean meat if you eat it) with you. Always be prepared. 
  27. If you need help managing the holidays in healthy ways, I'm here to help you live well in mind+body+spirit! 

 

Cover photo credit: Heather Cowper

 

 

Comment

Beauty Care 101

Comment

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
IN THE

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

Comment

What Is Clean Eating?

1 Comment

What Is Clean Eating?

farmer's market beet photo

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

1 Comment

#WellnessChat: Be a Cancer Killer

Comment

#WellnessChat: Be a Cancer Killer

9040561209_20ea5282ea_k.jpg

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

Comment

Why Going Meatless Is The New Black

Comment

Why Going Meatless Is The New Black

272830803_76eb6fbda0_b.jpg

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

Comment

How You Changed My Life (a wellprint testimony)

Comment

How You Changed My Life (a wellprint testimony)

446371768_b7d5d86d09_b.jpg

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.

------

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).

----

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

Comment

The Truth About Calories, Stress & Sleep

Comment

The Truth About Calories, Stress & Sleep

14004927459_b970a2cd7a_k.jpg

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

Comment

 War On Obesity

Comment

War On Obesity

4319786262_817738bc53_b.jpg

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

Comment

A Gluten-Free Refresher Course

Comment

A Gluten-Free Refresher Course

2014-03-22-19.22.19-e1399861120160.jpg

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.