My Top 10 Whole 30 Tips

1.   When pan roasting meat or vegetables with balsamic vinegar, be sure to line your baking sheets first. The balsamic vinegar burns easily and can be very difficult to remove. Lining the pan first makes cleaning up afterwards a breeze.

2.   Flank steak is a relatively tough, but incredibly flavorful cut of meat. For best results, be sure to marinate it in advance and cut it into thin slices against the grain prior to serving.

3.   Buy several rotisserie chickens when they are on sale. Then remove and shred the meat before freezing in individual packages for quick and easy weeknight meals, like our Buffalo Chicken lettuce wraps.

4.   Seafood can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet. However, it is becoming more and more difficult to know what seafood is safe and sustainable these days. Check out seafoodwatch.org for the best options.

5.   Sugar and other sweeteners are not part of Whole30. However, roasting naturally sweet root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, is a great way to add a touch of acceptable sweetness to your meals.

6.   Most packaged salad dressings are not Whole30 compliant because they contain added sugar and other banned ingredients. Fortunately, it’s really easy to make your own homemade versions. Add some fresh fruit to your vinaigrettes for a bit of natural sweetness.

7.   When possible, select a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables for your recipes. This will add additional textures and flavors to your menu, and a more diverse assortment of vitamins, minerals, and others nutrients to your diet.

8.   Choosing more colorful fruits and vegetables for your recipes also lends more visual appeal to your presentations. Why be bland and boring when you can easily add healthy splashes of color to your table?

9.   Preparing pork loin can be tricky because it is so easy to overcook. For this reason, choose timed oven-roasting over your much-loved slow cooker for consistently juicy results.

10. Fresh herbs are a low calorie way to add tons of flavor to your favorite recipes. You can add them to Whole30-compliant smoothies, salads, dressings, and marinades for a satisfying dose of extra flavor. To save money at the grocery store, grow an assortment at home on a sunny windowsill, deck, or patio, or in your garden. A nice mix of basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, cilantro, and oregano is ideal.

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100+ Ways to Manage Your Time and Money and Stress Less

You know the saying, ‘Time is Money’?

I know, I know – this is a health and fitness blog – why am I talking about money and time?

Because saving time and money means less stress for you.

Also, even though the two areas (money and/or time management and health) appear somewhat unrelated, they have a LOT in common. Mostly that you’ve developed habits around both and you have autopilot behaviors that may ..or may not …take you where you want to go with either.

However, what I’ve seen is that once you get a handle on one, it’s easier to apply the same principles to the other one.

For example, you probably manage your money and your time the same way you manage your health. You’re either Type A – have a good idea of what you have saved, how much you will earn this week/month/year, know what you’re spending it on, are pretty disciplined about spending, and you’re mindful with your purchasing habits. You’re proactive, putting money away for the future, knowing that sure it would be tons of fun to splurge more often, but you’re thinking long term and know you’ll want to have something to fall back on in the future.

Same with your health. You’re either super aware of what’s going on with your health, you’re pretty diligent about eating vegetables, not loading up on processed food or added sugar. You have the occasional treat but it’s done mindfully, not emotionally. OR you’re more of a ‘live for today’ type, enjoying every delicious opportunity that appears in front of you and giving in to every inclination to comfort eat that comes along.

Also, the fact that you might not be great with money or have a solid knowledge about what’s going on with yours might lead to some low grade, chronic stress, which isn’t great for your health. You might not have full on panic attacks but the constant worry going on in the back of your mind about it is going to have some eventual side effects on your health.

Take a look and see if there are a few things here that might help you save money and stress!

  • Prep and pack Mason jar lunches

  • Batch cook – double the recipe and cook extra to freeze for later

  • Use a Bullet Journal instead of a planner to get more done in less time

  • Organize your refrigerator to prevent spoiling food and wasted money

  • Use an Instant Pot to make your own yogurt

  • Make your own salad dressing instead of buying prepared

  • Use a Vitamix to make your own nut butter

  • Make your own flour

  • Make your own yogurt pouches

  • Use grocery rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout51 to get cash back on groceries

  • Bulk shop for pantry staples

  • Make your own baking mix for pancakes or quick breads

  • Go Meatless on Mondays (go to www.meatlessmonday.com for ideas!)

  • Try the Grocery Budget Makeover and slash your grocery bill

  • Get a SodaStream and stop buying expensive soda or seltzer

  • Use an Instant Pot to maximize your time cooking dinner

  • Make your own water flavoring

  • Meal plan to save money on last-minute takeout meals

  • Get a filtration system, like a Brita and reusable water bottle and stop buying overpriced bottled water

  • Make your own bread

  • Learn to can vegetables

  • Shop your pantry. Use up the items that have been sitting in there that you may have forgotten about

  • Buy dried beans instead of canned

  • Make your own oatmeal packets

  • Stop paying late fees on credit cards (set a reminder on your phone or sign up for autopay!)

  • Cancel your gym membership and workout at home

  • Refinance your home if your mortgage interest rate is high

  • Use credit cards with membership rewards programs like American Express

  • Organize linen closet with bins for medicines, first aid, baby items, sheets, pillowcases

  • Use vertical storage to get clutter off the floor

  • Create appt reminders so you don’t forget appointments and incur no-show fees

  • Evaluate your car insurance to avoid overpaying

  • Stack your errands to save money on gas and wear and tear on your car

  • Set up a home organization station like this one (from atcharlotteshouse.com) to keep family members organized

  • Outsource time-consuming tasks like lawn care

  • Use a home cleaning schedule to keep your home neat and clean, stop wasting time cleaning rooms that are hardly used or seen

  • Pack your lunch night before and streamline your morning routine (Psst… lunch bags don’t have to be fug! THIS ONE is adorable!)

  • Set up Help Yourself snack bins for your kids

  • Get into the habit of going to bed earlier and get more sleep (want to know how your sleep impacts productivity?)

  • Maximize your gym time by doing more circuit or HIIT-style workouts

  • Use a purse insert to save time and stay organized

  • Pack emergency items, paper towels, trash bags, extra clothes, back up snacks, and water in a Car Box

  • Make your own ice packs (here are five different ways to do it)

  • Purchase refurbished electronics.  Amazon now offers certified refurb items on their Amazon Renewed site. You can get refurbished smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, home and kitchen appliances, game consoles, office products, and more!)

  • Make your own jewelry cleaner (Here’s how!)

  • Use washable microfiber cloths for cleaning

  • Wake up earlier and be more productive before the day starts (Click here for tips on better sleep)

  • Make your own 2nd day hair spray (xoJane.com has a great recipe here!) cut your shower time in half

  • Make your own disinfectant wipes

  • Shop with the season, buy things during the time of year they usually go on sale

  • Use Amazon Subscribe and Save to save you the time and hassle of shopping for items you use regularly

  • Use flickering LED lights instead of candles. Romance AND safety!

  • Make your own spice mixes instead of buying expensive premade ones (Wellnessmama.com has 14 recipes right here!)

  • Use Rent the Runway for formal dressing occasions – don’t buy outfits you’ll only wear once!

  • Create a capsule wardrobe and stop buying clothes you won’t wear (Don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is or how to create one? Click HERE)

  • Buy brand name preloved clothes on poshmark and thredup

  • Buy higher quality items in classic styles and wear them for several seasons instead of buying cheaper, trendier, disposable clothing every few months

  • Shop around for travel deals using websites like Expedia or Trivago

  • Use the Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest gas in your area

  • Order car parts online (Did you know you can buy replacement side mirrors on Amazon??)

  • Maintain your car to keep it running longer! Make sure to regularly check your air pressure, change your oil, and change your air filters! (Get your air filters on amazon and change them yourself instead of paying the dealership an arm and a leg to do it!)

  • Shop at stores (like Kroger and Costco) that offer points to use as discounts on gas 

  • Subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or  Book Bub for deals on ebooks

  • Buy an Entertainment book and find coupons for local attractions

  • Find deals for local events on Groupon

  • Use Redbox to rent movies and video games

  • Cancel cable and stream your entertainment with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon using a Firestick, Apple TV, or a Playstation console

  • Get active and find a local ‘Get Started in Sports’ program near you

  • Use your local library to check out books instead of buying them at a bookstore or ordering from Amazon

  • While you’re at the library check out movies instead of seeing them in the theater

  • Host a Moms’ Night In instead of going out. Play Bunco, host a book club, or a craft night! Need more ideas? Check here.

  • Buy pre-owned games and game systems at GameStop

  • Take a Staycation – explore your own town or county and find some hidden gems

  • Use reusable snack bags Bumkins Reusable Snack Bag Small 2 Pack, Crocs & Turtle (B2)

  • Make your own play-doh

  • Organize a mom swap

  • Buy a Cricut or Silhouette cutter and make your own party decorations

  • Shop consignment sales for deals on gently used toys and clothes

  • Buy discounted gift cards on Raise.com ahead of time if you know you are shopping at certain stores

  • Buy themed items for next year the day after it happens this year – Halloween costumes, Valentine’s Day cards, Christmas decorations, Thanksgiving place settings

  • Use ebates.com or mrrebates.com and get money back on your online purchases

  • Stop spending too much! Use the Krazy Koupon Lady’s stock up price list!

  • Go on a cash diet – take your credit and debit cards out of your wallet and replace it with cash – you’ll be less tempted to spend money

  • Use Earny to get cash back (it scans your email to find receipts and gets your cash back if it finds a cheaper price elsewhere)

  • Use Snipsnap app to find coupons for in-store and online shopping

  • Look at Groupon Goods

  • Watch Amazon’s Lightning Deals feed to snap up big discounts that are only available for a limited time

  • Schedule “leftover night’ on your weekly meal plan to make sure you use up anything that didn’t get eaten during the week. (Want more help creating a family menu plan? Click here!)

    Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

The Best Cookbooks for the Way You Eat

When it comes to self-care, you know I consider planning and specifically meal planning to be a big part of how you take care of yourself. Create a strategy for the week of what healthy options will be on the menu BEFORE you get hungry, tired, or too busy to think of anything.

Sure you could go on Pinterest and pin a bunch of recipes but let’s be honest – there’s something so satisfying about pulling out an old-time physical book and flipping through the pages, poring over the pictures, and choosing the meals that sound best to you.

No matter what your style of eating or food preferences are, I’ve put together some suggestions for some cookbooks to keep handy so you’ll never run out of options!

Paleo Cookbooks

Want to learn more about eating paleo? Click here

Ketogenic Diet Cookbooks

Want to learn more about following the ketogenic diet? Click here.

Whole 30 Cookbooks

Whole 30 is a way of eating the encourages whole foods and no added sugars. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of reducing sugar in your diet, click here.

Vegetarian Cookbooks

If you are vegan, vegetarian, flexetarian, pescetarian, or just love Meatless Mondays, these cookbooks are for you!

Related: Learn about the benefits of adding more plant-based meals to your diet

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts?

They’re all yours! Get access here:

How much sugar is too much?

We all know sugar is NOT a health food. It isn’t full of nutrition, and excess consumption is not associated with great health.

The problem is that sugar is everywhere. It’s naturally occurring. It’s also added to just about every processed food there is. Added sugar is a factor in many chronic diseases we see today. Sugar is inflammatory. Too much is associated with weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and cavities. Too much sugar is a huge health risk, no matter how you look at it.

So let’s talk about how much sugar is too much.

Added sugar vs. naturally occurring sugar.

What’s the official word?

Before we talk about the “official” numbers (and why I don’t agree with them), you need to know the difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar.

Fruit and other healthy whole foods contain sugar. They also contain water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals. They are good for you. Eating fruits and vegetables is a well-proven way to reduce your risks of many chronic diseases.

Added sugar, on the other hand, is concerning. In 2013, the American Heart Association calculated that about 25,000 deaths per year were due to sweetened beverages. Added sugar is also in baked goods, candies, soups, sauces and other processed foods. You can find sugar on the ingredient list as many names, often ending in “-ose.” These include glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc.

So, total sugars = naturally occurring sugar + added sugar.

The official change is the new Nutrition Facts tables. You may remember that in Canada and the USA, they declare the amount of sugar, but don’t give it a %DV (% daily value); this means, they’ve never had a benchmark maximum daily value to use. They haven’t declared how much is too much. Now, both countries are implementing a % DV for sugar.

In 2008, the average daily total sugar intake in the USA was 76.7 grams per day; this is less than these two benchmarks.

In the USA, the labels are changing too. They are not declaring total sugars but will differentiate between naturally occurring and added sugars. They have decided on a maximum of 50g of added sugars each day.

Unfortunately, this is still more than the American Heart Association’s recommended maximum of 24 g/day added sugar for women, and 36 g/day added sugar for men.

What is a better daily sugar goal?

While these official numbers are a step in the right direction, they’re not what I would follow.

For one thing, I’d ditch as many processed food as possible, regardless of their sugar content. There are a ton of studies that show that processed foods have long term negative impact on your health. Get your sugar from whole, unprocessed fruits first.

Second, you don’t even need to max out your daily sugar intake. Try to reduce your sugar intake below these official amounts for an even better goal.

Tips to reduce your sugar intake:

Here are some of my most popular recommendations to reduce your sugar intake, so you don’t get too much:

●     Reduce (or eliminate) sugar-sweetened beverages; this includes soda, sweetened coffee/tea, sports drinks, etc. Instead, have fruit-infused water. Or try drinking your coffee/tea black or with a touch of cinnamon or vanilla instead.

●     Be more mindful of your desserts and baked goods and bake your own instead of buying them. You can easily control the added the sugar in a recipe made at home.

●     Instead of a granola bar, or other sugary snack, try fruit, a handful of nuts, or veggies with hummus. These are easy grab-and-go snacks if you prepare them in a to-go container the night before.

References:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-labelling-changes.html?_ga=2.256456139.1337838755.1500915116-364691916.1498677123

https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#images

http://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-eating/reduce-sugar

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WXYtbYjys2w

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-sugar-per-day/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/truth-about-sugar

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-break-the-sugar-habit-and-help-your-health-in-the-process

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-spot-and-avoid-added-sugar

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021

Pssst… Want my healthy recipes and printable workouts? 

They’re all yours! Get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

6 Mistakes You’re Probably Making in Your Fitness Program

 

 

 

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may make a commission if you purchase an item through one of my links. This does not increase the price of the item for you. Read more about this on my site’s Policy and Disclosure page.

 

As a health coach and personal trainer, I think few things are as confusing for people trying to implement a healthy lifestyle as how to include exercise in order to see results.

 

Hint – there’s no right way to be active. As long as you are moving your body every day, you’re headed in the right direction. If your goal is to exercise to lose weight, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but working out has very little impact on short term weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight, for whatever reason, what you eat, why you eat, and where you eat are considerations you’ll want to pay close attention to.

 

But when it comes to maintaining your body’s healthy weight, an exercise habit is a critical factor.

 

Related: My easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial on creating a well rounded fitness program

 

Let’s talk about what you might be doing to negatively impact those long-term results 

 

1. You’re doing too much – These are the people who love working out so much that they just can’t skip a day. Yes, you should have some form of activity on most days but tune in to when your body needs a break. Yes, endorphins make you feel great and that runner’s high IS addictive, but when your excessive exercise starts to cause you pain, wear you down, or stress you out, it’s time to scale back and take it easy. Overtraining can lead to inflammation, elevated cortisol levels, and lowered immunity. Tip: Swap out one of your spin classes for yoga once a week, schedule in some active rest, and give your muscles a chance to recuperate.

 

2. Not doing enough – Maybe you’re not at the point yet where you love exercise so much that you need to hit the gym every morning before work. Maybe that won’t EVER be you, and that’s ok. You don’t have to love exercising but you do need to find ways to incorporate some activity into your daily routine. Tip: Have a living room dance party every day when you get home from work, walk your dog after dinner, or get a standup desk that makes it easy to move around more during the day.

 

  1. 3. Thinking it has to be all or nothing – Don’t have time for a full workout so you just decide to skip altogether? The effects of exercise are cumulative so every little bit adds up! Tip: 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 minutes of walking after lunch, and a super-fast, do-in-your-pajamas 10 minute full body resistance workout before bed.

    BOOM! You met the daily requirement and it didn’t mess with your schedule!

    4. Not lifting weights – Maybe you’re the lady who hits the gym daily but beelines straight for the cardio machines, not giving the weight rack a second glance. Because if it isn’t cardio, it doesn’t count. Yes, cardio burns more calories DURING the workout, but weight training burns calories for up to 48 hours AFTER the workout! Thanks to EPOC (or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, the amount of fat and calories burned AFTER a workout). If you aren’t familiar with the EPOC effect, let me explain it briefly: anaerobic exercise (or the exercises that are done in short, powerful bursts) creates an oxygen deficit in your muscles during the workout. Once the workout ends, your body has to work to correct this oxygen deficit and this process of replacing the oxygen burns calories long after you finish the workout. The greater the deficit created, the harder your body works to correct it, thus more calories burned after your workout ends. Lifting weights is so important, especially for women to promote bone density and avoid osteoporosis, so it’s important to incorporate some weight training a few times a week.

 

Pro tip: Don’t want to invest in a home weight set? Grab this heavy-duty, super portable, and very affordable resistance band set from Amazon!)

 

 

5. Not lifting heavy enough weights – Maybe you read that last bullet and thought “Not me, I lift weights!” Ok, but are they the pink ones? Are they the ‘lady’ weights at the gym that aren’t that challenging to lift?

 

The reason that weight training is important is that it stimulates new muscle growth, and it won’t do that if you’re lifting super light weights. If you can do more that 15 reps with that weight, it’s too light. Increase your weight gradually until you’re no longer able to do more than 12-15 reps per set.

 

Worried you’re going to bulk up and look too muscular? Don’t worry, women’s bodies are not designed to bulk up and the only way you’re going to start looking like a bodybuilder is if you start lifting extremely heavy weights all the time, and even then, it takes a lot to achieve that look. So if this is your concern, rest assured – it’s not going to happen!

 

Tip: Make sure to increase weights safely and gradually. If you can’t use proper form while lifting the weight, drop back down to the next highest weight

 

6. Not stretching or doing flexibility work – Maybe you’ve read this and you’re the one that’s doing regular cardio AND lifting weights a few times a week, but are you working on building your flexibility and mobility?

 

These are extremely important as we age for retaining your joints’ range of motion and avoiding injury. Add a yoga class to your weekly fitness routine and a stretch sesh after each workout! With building flexibility, consistency is key!

 

Pro tip: Leave a workout mat next to your bed and do a quick stretch each night before bed! This one from Amazon rolls up and out of sight when you’re not using it!

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.