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Ditch the Sugar, Lose the Weight

 

Pour some sugar on me…


But not on my food. No way, no ma’am, no thank you. I not-so-secretly adore sugary things. Actually, I love salty foods. Fatty foods. Fried foods. If it is dyed an obnoxious color, I’ll probably like that too. (Those chewy Swedish fish make my day. Some part of my brain knows it’s not a real food, that fish are neither chewy nor bright red nor sweet, but I become 100% committed to devouring the entire box the second they’re in my hands.) I use so much salt on my food, it looks like a literal snow blizzard has descended upon my plate. But out of all my vices, I think my sweet tooth is the worst. Scratch that, it’s not a sweet tooth, but teeth. Like, a mouth full of ’em. I’m pretty sure my body is out to get me.

When science is finally confessing sugar is silently killing us and likens it to a hyper addictive drug, what’s a girl to do? Find ways to cut sugar out for good, that’s what. But hoooooooow!!!! Aside from the obvious answer (just DON’T do it), I’m sharing my own bullet-proof tips that help my own health endeavors.

Note: I’d like to add I’m personally against the idea of never eating anything with sugar. Life is about balance, and if you eat the occasional Cadbury egg (ahem, guilty), no big deal. Just make sure you stick with a clean diet for the long run.

Most people don’t mind admitting sugar is bad for us. But the real truth is that it’s deadly—and it’s also addictive.

1. Your brain processes sugar  (and junk food) the same way as cocaine, heroin and morphine. And yes…it wants more. A lot more.

Ok, let’s be frank: if it’s a matter of sugar vs. cocaine, obviously sugar is the much, much lesser of two evils. Science is finally admitting sugar and processed foods have a devastating impact on the body. Hard drugs will wreck the body quickly, but sugar is a slow and silent killer to all our major organs. UGH. Whyyyyyy? I love it so. I mean, Captain Crunch Berries is to die for. But there’s a reason my body has been tricked into adoring sugary things: when we eat sugar, our brains release a flood dopamine. Our bodies interpret this as the feeling of “pleasure,” or being high, and our brains reprogram to want more. And more. And more. And guess what, kids, sugar is in everything. This is why highly processed, sugar-laden foods often cause people lose control over their consumption and find themselves in a cycle of eating more and more sugary/processed foods. Oh, and want some more bad news? Our tolerance builds just like with any other drug.

Imaging studies have shown sugar/processed foods lights up the same parts of the brain lights as drugs.

How crazy is that?! Functional MRI (fMRI) scanners show the same brain regions are activated in response to cues and cravings for both junk foods and drugs.

Read More: How Sugar Hijacks Your Brain and Makes You Addicted

2. Sugar Creates Powerful Cravings

Oh my god. I don’t know about you, but I have zero will-power against cravings.  Did you know the vast majority of our cravings are self-induced—or I should say, shelf induced? The processed, refined foods we eat aren’t natural and don’t provide nutrients. They fill us up with calories, but leave the body hunting for real food.

Our body works really hard to make sure we’re never too hot, too cold, too hungry, too full, but always just right.The body has an awesome system to achieve homeostasis–or perpetual “just right” Goldie Locks syndrome. We go out on a summer day, the body starts sweating to help us cool off. We don’t drink enough water and the body signals the thirst mechanism.

If your body is desperate for certain nutrients, it lets you know by kicking in the cravings. But those cravings for soda, chips, chocolate etc? Not so normal. They have zero nutritional value, so your body doesn’t recognize them as useful or fuel. People often get those cravings despite having just finished a fulfilling, nutritious meal. This is because cravings are not about satisfying your body’s need for energy, instead it is your brain calling for “reward.”

SO HOW DO WE KICK SUGAR TO THE CURB?

1. Snack on a few medjool dates:

I’m not kidding when I say the instant I eat one or two of these food gems, my energy level is up and my cravings are gone. Why? Dates are loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber and amino acids, and contain minerals like copper, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium phosphorous, and iron, as well as B vitamins (especially B6), vitamin K, and vitamin A. While they aren’t “low calorie”, they are a mega-high wattage form of healthy fuel for the body. They also help curb symptoms of depression. We need to shift our thinking away from “low calorie/low fat” to “high fuel quality/high nutrients.” And dates definitely fall into that category.

As with all fruit, don’t go cray-cray and consume massive amounts of this little gem. Dates contain healthy sugar, but you don’t want to go overboard. Studies show you can safely eat up to three or four large dates a day without raising blood sugar levels.

Read more: Surprising Benefits of Dates

2. Drink a green smoothie every day:

This is pretty much my answer to life, marriage, love, liberty, politics (Trump definitely needs to drink a green smoothie), health, fitness…I mean EVERYTHING. It’s like NOS fuel for your mind and body, and if you’re charged up with good nutrients, you’ll be less tempted to go after those sugary foods. Make sure your body is getting its nutrients, so you won’t misinterpret your cravings as a need for junk food.

3. Get enough sleep:

I am so jealous of people that can pass out like a narcoleptic. Sleeping is an under-rating skill set, and if you have the ability to trot off to sleep like Winkin-Blinkin-and Nod, you should put it on your resume. I myself am a total insomniac. And a night owl. I literally love love love staying up into the wee hours of the morning, and get a burst of manic creativity from 1200-4am. It’s like I’m a crazed NYC artist living in the 60’s, but instead of doing anything artsy or productive, I end up pining like a million things on my Pinterest board. By proxy, I feel very, very productive from all the things I’ve pinned of other people’s projects. I’m convinced my booty is more toned from all the exercises I’ve pinned and plan on doing.

Anyway, my horrible, no good, very bad sleep cycle can lead to me reaching for something not-so-healthy to eat.When I’m tired, I’m a lot more tempted to grab something easy that gives me an insta-faux energy boost. For my own health’s sake, I force myself to go to bed before midnight and wake up around 6am everyday. And by force, I mean, literally under duress. IT’S SO PAINFUL. To wake up, it takes about 20 alarms and my husband gently but persistently resurrecting me from the dead. Samuel  wakes up at 5am everyday without even flinching, and he only uses ONE alarm (IT’S NOT A COMPETITION, GOSH DARNIT, SAMUEL), because he’s so naturally productive he doesn’t even need a Pinterest board. In the interest of full disclosure, I only get out of bed because he goes out and gets me a coffee err’y day. I know. So precious. Isn’t he sweet? Least you think he’s the better spouse entirely, you should know I (mooooost of the time) do eventually wake up and make him a green smoothie and cold pressed juice after drinking said coffee, so I likewise give myself Good Spousemanship points.

4.  Be open to explore the emotional issues around your sugar addiction.

Many times our craving for sugar is because we’re covering an emotional need that isn’t being met. I personally can be an emotional eater. Food is comforting, and within balance, that can be a good thing. In a strange way, our diet often mirrors the chaos or lack of self-love in our own lives. I’m not sure why this is, I just know that it often is the case. So if you find yourself in a cycle of turning to junk food, maybe ask yourself where you can give a little more love and grace to yourself and those around you. Be kind to yourself, and your diet will likewise follow suit. It’s a weird life hack.

5. Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar.

Study after study shows artificial sweeteners are apparently the devil in disguise. I mean, maybe not literally, but then again…

So here’s the cliff notes version of about a billion studies: if you use artificial sweeteners, you save yourself some calories, but your body freaks out at the empty non-calories and desperately seeks to make up for them. People who use artificial sweeteners average an extra 200-500 calories a day from aimless snacking and grazing, because these sweeteners seem to mess up the body’s ability to feel satiated and full. Also, Splenda wipes out the good bacteria in your intestines, which, don’t even get me started about. But you can read my thoughts of the need for probiotics here and here. Also, your body isn’t fooled into thinking you just gave it a treat if you eat something with artificial sweetener. Your hormones will make you hunt down carbs until it gets what it truly thinks it’s missing: sugar.

If you are like me and need about a thousand teaspoons of sugar in your tea and coffee, try natural sweeteners or stevia.

 

6. Drink water. Soooooo much water:

We’re a bunch of dehydrated people walking around in some shriveled up husks, let me tell you. Instead of drinking water though, we often reach for a snack. Why? Because dehydration actually does kick in real craving mechanisms of the body. Your homeostasis doesn’t appreciate running on meager portion of water, and signal the thirst mechanism to switch on. Most people interpret this feeling as being hungry or tired. So, before you take a nap (OH EM GEE, naps are my favorite. My fat cat and I try to schedule one in every day), or go for a candy bar, try drinking a large glass of water and waiting about 15 minutes for your body to soak up the benefits.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Best Yoga Books (for yoga addicts like you)

I collect two things in life: books and music. And according to my bank account, I apparently go a little overboard with my obsession for both. I am unrepentant.

I am without question a book fanatic/literarazzi/reader-of-all-the-things. I don’t know about you, but any location that houses books in a happy place: libraries, used bookstores, Barnes and Noble, that random pop up store down the street, etc etc etc. I’m not kidding when I say I read at least a book or two a week. I will happily turn down social engagements to snuggle up with a my fat cat and a book. HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH—called my sofaaaaaaaa.

Anyway, now that we all know the real reason I’m sometimes a terrible friend (those books aren’t gonna read themselves, people), I wanted to share with you several that I’ve found really beneficial to my yoga practice. Inspirational and philosophical books are pretty easy to come across, but books with a technical focus are often difficult to find. I’ve curated several gems along the way, and they’ve made a huge difference in my practice. While it might seem counter intuitive to read how to do an asana, weirdly, it absolutely locks the “how to” in place during your practice.

THE MOVES:

2100 Asanas by Daniel Lacerada

This massive reference book is a yoga dream come true. Pros: It’s the most complete collection of yoga asanas, and literally shows you every variation of each pose. The gorgeous, minimal photography only makes the book that much better.

The book is organized into eight major types of poses-standing, seated, core, quadruped, backbends, inversions, prone, and supine-and further broken down by families of poses that progress from easiest to more challenging. Every pose is accompanied by the name of the pose in English and Sanskrit, a description of the modification, the Drishti point (eye gaze), the chakras affected and its benefits.

Cons: this book won’t teach you how to get in and out of poses, but the simple solution is to look up the asana of your choice on youtube. I use this as my reference book, or my “yoga thesaurus.”

The Yoga Bible: by Christina Brown

Pros: this book is an excellent reference for all yoga styles. Hear something confusing in class, like “pranayama” and think WTF? Well, now you can look it up.

Cons: it’s a little bit of everything, so don’t expect to dive deep or get thorough explanations of anything.

 

The Power of Ashtanga by Kino MacGregor

This book by my own teacher Kino MacGregor is without a doubt one of the best books on learning yoga that I’ve come across. The wealth of advice, clear explanations, and practical tips from Kino is almost like sitting down and chatting with her about the process of learning ashtanga.

Pros: this book contains a detailed, organized explanations for each pose in the primary series, accompanied by a picture to show you the asana. It was easy to translate the written explanation to my physical practice. Best of all, Kino makes her accompanying YouTube instructional videos readily accessible (and free), so it’s a built in supplement to the book and visa versa. Kino also explains the yoga philosophy in such an amazing, accessible manner.

Cons: Kino is one of the most advanced Ashtangis in the world. She makes it look easy, and she lets you know up front that it’s not. Moves that appear simple can be deceptively challenging. The book also only explores the Ashtanga practice, so you’ll learn the primary sequence. This is the core foundation for almost all styles of yoga though, so I still HIGHLY recommend it.

Power of Yoga II by Kino MacGregor

Same points as above, only this book focuses on the secondary series. It’s good for intermediate to advanced yoga practitioners of the vinyassa, power, and Ashtanga practice.  The book contains a range of inversions and backbends, so it’s a great book for those power yogis and inversion lovers out there. Definitely check out accompanying asana instructions of Kino’s YouTube channel.

 

The Complete Guide to Yoga Inversions by Jennifer DeCurtins

Pros: Her tips are spot on and beneficial, especially for people who learn best by seeing something in print verses hearing it from an instructor. I also like that there’s an option for spiral bound book. As with all complicated yoga moves, I suggest taking a work shop, private lessons, or stalking YouTube. Kino has the best videos I’ve ever come across, although I also like SarahBeth’s yoga channel and Celest Pereira’s channel to learn specific asanas.

Cons: Sorry, the only way to nail inversions is to do strength drills. Reading this book or any other just won’t get you there. However, you can be as strong as an ox, but if you don’t know how to align your body, you’ll be stuck on the ground.

Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses by Dharma Mittra

Pros: Dharma Mittra is one of the most amazing living gurus of all time. His life, philosophy, and beautiful approach to compassion is nothing short of inspiring. I’ve attended several of his workshops in DC, and he swept everyone away with his incredible spirit. Having said that, this book is an amazing resource for Hatha yoga. Setting up a camera in his New York City studio, Dharma Mittra photographed himself in 908 yoga postures, sometimes snapping the picture by holding the trigger between his teeth. As such, the pictures aren’t the most amazing quality but elegant nonetheless.

Cons: it does feel a little bit vintage. Also, Dharma Mittra is wearing the traditional yogi-loincloth, which some people find awkward to see 608 times in 608 poses.

How to Use Yoga: A Step by Step Guide to the Iyengar Method by Mera Mehta

(Also see B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: the Path to Holistic Health below)

Pros: A practical yoga course, with step-by-step photographic guidance, written by one of the leading exponents of the Iyengar method of yoga. The book also includes a section on postures helpful for common problems, such as headaches, stiffness, pain in the shoulders and backache.

Cons: It’s difficult to conceptualize the unique flow of Iyengar through a book alone, so hunt down some teachers on YouTube, or get a DVD.

B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: the Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. Iyengar

Pros: B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health covers the complete teachings of BKS Iyengar for mind, body, and health, and is suitable for every level of yoga ability, age, and physical condition. It’s fully illustrated throughout with unique 360-degree views of classic Iyengar asanas, and includes a 20-week course introducing beginners to the most widely practiced form of yoga in the world, specially developed sequences to help alleviate more than 80 common ailments, and all classic asanas illustrated and supervised by B.K.S. Iyengar himself. You can also readily find examples on youtube, which makes it even easier to learn.

Cons: if you’re an vinyassa or power yogini like myself, the slow and precise style of Iyengar yoga will drive you bonkers. BUT it’s probably exactly what you need to prevent energy and build a better meditative practice. It’s a beautiful balance to the fire of power yoga, and frankly, way more therapeutic for your body.

THE INSPIRING MEMOIRS:

Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen is an enjoyable read that’s part philosophy, memoir, and yoga advice. Rachel writes with an approachable, enjoyable voice.

Perfectly Imperfect by Baron Baptiste and his original book Journey into Power are two staples of the power yoga movement. I mean, the cover is cheesy AF, but the content is good stuff. I just feel like if I open Journey into Power, and 80’s rock ballade is gonna leap out and grab me.

Sacred Fire: My Journey into the Ashtanga Practice by Kino MacGregor is not stop inspo for the truly dedicated yogini who is not just “doing yoga,” but training and diving in deep.

Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom by B.K.S. Iyengar gives you a chance to learn from one of the greatest gurus of yoga even though he’s passed on. It’s a great resource.

THE PHILOSOPHICAL CLASSICS 

Not familiar with some of the classics, but want to dig in deeper? Here are a few that are staples of the practice:

  • The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar
  • Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with translation and commentary by Swami Satchitananda
  • Bhagavad Gita; the original Sanskrit text with English translation by Christopher Isherwood (2002) Side Note: I’m in the category of yoga practitioners who just really aren’t really into this book. It’s a classic, and usually a required read for every teaching course. It’s worth trying if you like philosophy, but it just wasn’t a book that resonated with me personally. The spiritual take aways certainly do, but I like my yoga without a side of too many confusing gods.
  • Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele
  • Yoga Mala: the Original Teachings of Ashtanga by Patabi Jois

Books—lovely, wonderful books! Although I think the intellectual and philosophical side of yoga is an essential part of the practice, when it comes to all areas in life, the way we learn is by doing. Inimitable guru Pattabi Jois is remembered for saying, “Practice, and all is coming.”

The best teacher is experience, and nothing teaches us peace, fortitude, compassion and grace quite like yoga.

Any other yoga books you enjoy? Feel free to let me know! Much love!

Surprising Health Benefits of Probiotics (and how to take them)

Happy New Year! Praise baby Jesus, 2016 is over.

…Damn, 2016. You were vicious! Don’t even get me started on all the celebrities we lost, because we lost our humanity for a hot minute and I think that’s a bigger deal. It was like a poop cloud of negativity hung over the entire year in the form of politics, social media, and the news (ok, and celebrity deaths). Most of the time, I felt like I was a very reluctant extra in a HORRIBLE episode of North & South. On a personal level, it was actually a good year for me and my husband. DESPITE the presidential debates, we can’t complain (#DodgedThe2016Bullet), but man, our hearts have been breaking for so many dear friends and even strangers who are hurting from last year.

Here’s all I have to say about the Wretchedness Which Was 2016: whatever  personal opinions and views we value, let’s make sure we value people as well. I hope 2017 is marked by our kindness and desire to unite with one another instead of attack view points that our different from our own. I hope our resolution this year is to live an authentic life with compassion and love, never compromising core beliefs, but living out what we believe with grace.

So, now that we got that little bit out of the way, let’s talk about one of my personal obsessions: PROBIOTICS. Yaaaaaas, boo. Just what you need for you’re new year. Right? Actually, you do. For real. Scout’s honor.

I’m sure you’ve already heard about the glorious benefits of probiotics (there are literally dozens and dozens), but I want to hit on several points that many people aren’t aware of quite yet. Knowing how to take them and what to look for is just as important as knowing why you should add probiotics to your daily routine, so we’ll chat about that, too.

SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS (or: Probiotics ARE LITERALLY MAGIC)

INCREASED ENERGY

• We are a really, really tired society of people. I mean, SO. TIRED. Diet has a huge role in the quality of our sleep cycles and our energy levels, and so do probiotics.

80% of your body’s energy goes to digesting food, which is why you feel sleepy after a huge meal. Meat is incredibly tough for the body to digest, because we lack the necessary enzyme that carnivorous animals have to break down that meat. The diet we tend to gravitated towards as Americans isn’t a whole foods diet, and the combination of excess meat, GMO “foods”, refined sugars etc., have really messed with out digestive track. Probiotics aid in digestion, and in turn, give you a mega energy boost. If you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, try switching up your diet to a more plant based diet with a side of probiotics. I personally noticed a huuuuuge (yuge? too soon? For me it is) difference.

PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS

One of the biggest tragedies of our SAD (Standard American Diet) is that it wrecks our bodies in almost every way—and our outward weight reflects that inward turmoil of our bodies. There are numerous issues that contribute to weight gain/loss, but I know far too many people who constantly have to diet and live in a cycle of deprivation because they can’t lose the weight. Food cravings are usually a huge sabotage to our weight loss/maintenance programs. A balanced gut absorbs nutrients better, which in turn helps regulate appetite as well as burn stubborn belly fat.

COMBATS DEPRESSION

The gut has a huge part in mood regulation and serotonin production and loss. Scientists even consider the gut to be the “second brain.” This is incredibly long and in depth, and I’ve nerded out on a ton of articles and medical journals relating to this topic, because it’s SO fascinating. Essentially, serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter found in the gastrointestinal tract, blood platelets, and the central nervous system. Many antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs alter serotonin levels, which stabilizes the patient’s mood. A healthy gut does much the same thing, only naturally. I want to be clear: antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds exist for a reason–a life saving reason, in fact. Never, ever, abruptly quit, and ween your meds ONLY with the guidance of a doctor. I’m not saying that to in a token kind of way; I’m saying that because those are powerful medications that give many, many people the extra strength they need to health and thrive. I personally prefer holistic treatments, but I fully support anything that enhances our mental well-being. Thank God for modern medicine and good counselors.

IMPROVED IMMUNE SYSTEM

60-80% of the immune system is located in the gut. Blame your cold on that pizza you ate last night, because apparently, the gut is a bigger deal than we realized. Have you ever noticed a correlation with eating horrific foods/drinking too much over a weekend, only to wind up sick on Monday? I think if we’re all being reeeeeally honest, we know we often abuse our digestive system. When I sit down to eat, I don’t naturally think, “How will this impact my gut health?” I mean, if we’re being perfectly real here, I rarely think that. THe good news is we can protect our health just by following a plant based diet and taking a probiotic.

BUT HOW DO I TAKE THEM? 

So yay, we’ve decided to take probiotics: now what? Cue deer in headlight look. Choosing the right probiotic is a little overwhelming, let’s be honest.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PROBIOTIC:

1. Numerous strains of bacteria:

Research shows it’s not the total number of bacteria in a product that is most important; it’s the number of different strains of bacteria it includes.

The best probiotic supplements will include at least these three most important strains:

  • L. acidophilus—This is the most important strain of the Lactobacillus species and, it readily colonizes on the walls of the small intestine. It supports nutrient absorption and helps with the digestion of dairy foods.
  • B. longum—Like L. acidophilus, B. Longum is one of the most common bacteria found in the digestive tracts of adults, and it helps maintain the integrity of the gut wall. It is particularly active as a scavenger of toxins.
  • B. bifidum—This strain, found in both the small and large intestine, is critical for the healthy digestion of dairy products. This is especially important as you grow older and your natural ability to digest dairy declines. B. bifidum also is important for its ability to break down complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein into small components that the body can use more efficiently.

Secondarily:

  • L. rhamnosus—Known as the premier “travel probiotic,” this strain can help prevent occasional traveler’s diarrhea.
  • L. fermentum—This Lactobacillus strain helps neutralize some of the byproducts of digestion and promote a healthy level of gut bacteria.

2. Delivery system:

The best probiotic supplements will use delivery systems that ensure a significantly high percentage of bacteria will reach your intestines alive. Probiotic bacteria are living organisms, their health can be affected by their environment. It’s tremendously important to select a probiotic based on the manufacturers packaging and delivery system, because it won’t matter which product you select if its delivery system doesn’t work.

The “delivery system,” refers to how the probiotic is created and how that form enables the bacteria both to remain alive and healthy while on store shelves so it can reach the areas in your gut where they’ll be most effective. A probiotic supplement full of dead bacteria—or bacteria that only die once they reach stomach acid—is a waste of money.

Currently, one of the best ways to take probiotics is via a controlled-release tablet (or caplet). “Beadlet” technology is still viable, and capsule formulation has come a long way since the days when those pills were instantly obliterated by stomach acid.

Make sure you store your probiotic supplement in a place where it’ll be protected from light, heat, and moisture.

Side note about yogurt: unfortunately, yogurt is a pretty ineffective way of getting probiotics. In reality, you get such a small amount of probiotics per serving. If you are a yogurt loving fiend, make sure you get ORGANIC yogurt. Most people have trouble digesting diary, and unless you’re getting organic yogurt, there’s a chance your yogurt comes with a side of antibiotics, hormones, and all the other horrific things found in meat and dairy products these days. 

 

 

 

 

Use This, Not That: Deodorant Swaps

The many of the ingredients that go into our every day, run-of-the-mill products are a little bit terrifying.  Worst of all, when it comes finding out just how unhealthy a product really is, the burden of proof falls on the consumer. It shouldn’t be that way, but unfortunately, if we want to stay healthy, we can’t completely trust the FDA or consumer reports.

There’s a huge chance you’re using a hazardous product right now.

Aluminum is directly linked to Alzheimers and a slew of other health problems, but guess what we put directly into our lymph nodes every day? Yup. Aluminum, brought to you by way of your trusty deodorant. I don’t know about you, but this makes me mad AF. All I want in life is to smell fresh as a goddamn daisy, without risking putting my husband through a Notebook type of scenario. My memory is pretty sketchy as it is, so I need all the help I can get.

Since it’s approximately a million degrees outside right now (depending on the sun’s sinister positioning in the sky) now is the time for uber deodorant use. Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. I’ve done a lot of research of products out there, and I thought I’d share some of my findings. To be frank, I’ve not come across any reliable homemade products, and I’ve found them to be messy and such a time consuming task that I have no interest in exploring that route any further. If you have any tried and true natural DIY deodorant options that work (and don’t make me feel like my kitchen has exploded in a kindergarten arts and crafts project), definitely let me know!

Here are my top favorite deodorants which contain No Aluminum. No Parabens. No Propylene Glycol. No Harsh Chemicals.

Native Deodorant is my favorite. The company uses natural, non-toxic ingredients and lasts all day. It’s paraben free and has no ingredients that will It’s affordable and comes in a variety of pleasant smells.

Lavanilla Deodorant smells bright and clean, and I never had any issues with oder when using it. It’s non-toxic, natural, and paragon free.

Schmidt’s Deodorant does have the annoying feature of coming in a jar. However, super effective and comes with a little spatula. It’s 100% vegan and natural AF, so that’s a huge plus. It’s a little bit of a switch over from using a stick of deodorant, but the people who adapt swear by it. They also have a stick version, which I haven’t tried yet, but I’d be willing to give it a go.

These are the deodorants I’ve tried personally, and for the record, they hold up pretty well to my hot yoga/Crossfit/HIIT fitness routine. I’ve noticed a significant difference in my own health after cutting out deodorants containing aluminum, so give it a try and see what you think. Switching out your deodorant is an easy way you can look out for your body.

 

Is Yoga Enough of a Workout?

And there it is. The question I get asked all the time: IS YOGA ENOUGH: to stay fit, to lose weight, to keep the weight off.

When a person says they do yoga, that’s a pretty broad spectrum statement. There are a million different types of yoga, and I don’t think one is better than another, so long as it benefits the body and the soul. Most gyms in the States have an increasing demand for yoga-fusion classes: cycle-meets-mat, barre-meets-yogini, weights-meets-flow…you get the idea. I’m sure what I’m about to say is an annoying purist statement, but I’mma gonna say it: those hybrids of yoga are not yoga. They’re a workout routine, not true yoga. Yoga is a discipline with strong spiritual roots and those who are faithful yoga practitioners reap crazy health benefits, but true yogis don’t do yoga to get fit. That’s a side benefit, and a great one.

BUT let’s face it, most people find their way to the mat because they want to get lean and limber. Nothing wrong with that. Fitness might bring us to our mat, and then we end up staying for the internal benefits. Even so, many health driven, dedicated yoga practitioners will end up asking the question:

So is yoga enough of a workout routine? My answer is yes…and no.

First things first: regardless of our workout plans, our food choices can massively annihilate any progress we make towards weight loss or weight maintenance. I don’t believe in crash diets or detoxes, because: STRESS. I mean, really, ain’t nobody got time for that. Intelligent. thoughtful food choices lead to maximum health.

Once we’ve gotten our food choices in balance, we can evaluate our workout routines better. Any movement is good for the body. Nothing can replace HIIT or cardio though. And while yoga styles like Rocket and Ashtanga burn a fair amount of calories and give you an intense workout, most people (particularly women, whomp-whomp) need a little something outside of yoga to blast away the extra fat.

What looks fit to me might not be your definition, so that’s something to consider when setting your goals. Yoga might be enough for you, but age, body type, and metabolism should also be driving factors in your workout routine.

Notice I say “body type” as in: the type of body you have and how it uniquely processes food and exercise, not a picture of someone else’s body via a magazine or IG profile etc etc etc.

One of the best things we can do when creating our workout routine is to not compare our bodies to another’s. No two bodies are created equal or identical, and yet we’re all uniquely lovely in our own ways. I have clients tell me they want “a yoga body.” What the hell is a yoga body? I know, I know…it’s supposed to be that lovely, luxuriously lean body we all dream about, but frankly I know like zero real life yoginis that have that build. Well, wait, I know two, and they’re both gorgeous gay men with bods to die for, but you get my point. Kino MacGregor is one of the most famous yoginis out there. She’s crazy strong and very muscular, but she doesn’t have a “dainty” build. Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl) is gorgeous, but she’s not a microscopic stick. One of my dear friends is “plus sized” (I get annoyed by that term…like what’s plus sized? She has a body, and a lovely one at that) and she’s stunning, strong, and even more limber than the average IG yoga model. So let’s be kind to each other’s bodies and neither compare nor criticize. Let’s be kind to our own body and follow the same rule.

A good place to start in your fitness routine is to figure out  your body type and build your regimen from there. There are three body types, and we get dealt our cards in utero as a baby. It’s crazy fascinating, but also depressing, since we get what we get and that’s life. THANKS, PHYSIOLOGY! Fight it or embrace it, nature is a beautiful thing.

The three body types are: Ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

(See link below to determine your body type)

  • Ectomorph: if you are naturally a waif and have trouble putting on muscle and gaining weight, you can get away with less cardio. The average yoga class will probably not be enough to build muscle or give you that really “toned” look some people prefer, and it will be difficult for you to build strength without drills and weights off the mat. The good news is your body will naturally love yoga and you’ll probably be one the more flexible than strong side. The bad news is it might take you longer to nail strength poses like arm balances and inversion, so add a solid weight class into your routine your life and do enough cardio to stay heart healthy. If you don’t care about looking super toned, yoga alone is just fine.
  • Mesomorph: naturally athletic, you tone up easily. You get strong and stay strong, but you have to work at flexibility. You don’t need yoga for weight-loss—you need it to keep your muscles from getting too tight. Yoga will lengthen out your limbs and give you an overall leaner look. BUT you must, must, must balance your life with cardio if you find you struggle to lose weight. Sorry kids. Yoga alone won’t cut it.
  • Endomorph: you’ve got curves! Maybe a some extra pounds too. It’s a challenge to lose weight and keep it off. BOOO. Yoga will nourish your body and help build strength, but you need to add weights and you need to make sure you’re burning fat by doing a mix of HIIT and cardio. Your main “workout” should be cardio.

Remember, age and diet factor in as well. I eat really clean throughout the week…but I just can’t say no to bottomless mimosas or a good margarita. I also find I need more cardio to keep my weight in check as I get older. So, I find things I love doing: kickboxing classes, pound rockout, or intense circuit training.  I walk or bike everywhere in the city, and go hiking and skiing/boarding depending on the season. Point being: I have to stay active, but I can have a blast doing it.

Design your workout routine around your body and your goals, not someone else’s Instagram–especially a fitness model. I’m looking at you, darlin’! WALK AWAY NOW!

You can do the exact workout, eat the exact same food, drink the exact smoothie as your favorite celebrity. It won’t make you look like that person. Your #fitnessgoals should be YOU centered, and I hope they are. Look, you’re fabulous. Your body is divine, even if it’s not perfect. As humans, we usually crave what we can’t have and forget to embrace what we do have.

Our bodies are gifts, no matter how much shade we throw at ourselves (my best friend just informed me I am far too uncool to use words like shade, bae, or anything Beyonce would say. Whatevah whatevah, I will what I want) Our bodies let us do amazing things, take us on incredible journey, and house our souls. NO TWO BODIES ARE EXACTLY ALIKE. Let your body be the best body it can be, and adjust your workout routine to fitness the unique needs your body has.

Wanna find out your body type? Of course you do! Here’s some link love:

Body type test:

Tracy Anderson’s Body Type Workout Suggestions:

 

 

Hazelnut Biscotti (So Good, You’ll Wake Up for It)

I’m kinda sorta completely obsessed with all things hazelnut related. If someone asked me what I wanted for my last supper on death row, I’d promptly reply, “First, it’s called dinner not supper, but allegedly the South will rise again, so don’t you worry yourself over vernaculars. Second, I want nutella over nutella filled cupcakes, piled on top of a pillow of nutella cakes…AND HOLD THE GLUTEN!” What the heck, it’s death row, I can handle the gluten.

During my travels abroad, I came across a hazelnut biscotti that was so insanely delicious, I literally woke up extra early to stomp over to the local cafe for my daily biscotti and coffee. Note: I do NOT do mornings, and I’m not a huge coffee drinker unless it’s a legit cup o’ Italian brew or French pressed, so this was an act of devotion. When I got back home, I decided to experiment with some recipes to make a vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free recipe. I was anticipating gross cardboard-like sticks of non-deliciousness, but to my surprise, the biscotti was a mega hit. My non-vegan/non-health-crazed girlfriends gobbled them up like they were after dinner mints, and my husband and I maaaaaaaaybe (ok definitely) got into a thumb wrestling match for the last biscotti. I won…but only because I cheated—ummm, out-stratagem my husband. And people: THEY’RE VEGAN! And healthy! Put that in your coffee and eat! BOOM!

IMG_4553


 

SERVES: Makes 32 biscotti sticks

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 15-20 minutes to roast hazelnuts/10-15 minutes for biscotti to cook.


 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 1/4 Pamela’s GF Flour (use coconut flour for Paleo diet)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup stevia (more or less depending on how sweet you like your biscotti)
  • 1/4 dried coconut nectar
  • 2 eggs or vegan egg substitute
  • Water as needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees, lay raw, organic hazel nuts on a pan and roast for about 15-20 minutes. By doing this yourself, you’ll preserve many of the nutrients in the nuts. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Place nuts in food processor and pulse until you have a nutty, flour like consistency. If you blend too much, it will start turning into nut butter. I actually like to pulse mine right up till that point to really bring out the flavors of the hazelnuts. It smells HEAVENLY. Remove from food processor and add to mixing bowl with dry ingredients.
  3. Add melted coconut oil, vanilla and eggs. Fold into mix, and add water a TBS at a time as needed. Mix should be moist but not too sticky or runny. Knead the dough, cover it and allow it to sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees while you take dough out and roll flat between two parchment papers. I prefer my biscotti slightly flatter, but you can choose the thickness you’d like. Bake for 8-15 minutes, or until it’s golden and crispy around the edges.

Store in a container at room temp for up tow two weeks. This is one of those rare treats that taste better as they get “stale,” so you can make a big batch and keep it around for a while…if they last that long! Need some variety? Try adding cacao powder and organic chocolate chips for a delicious chocolate version of this mix! Much love and lots of spice from my kitchen to yours!

Fiesta for Your Mouth: Smokey Chipotle Tomato Sauce

I would just like to announce that I’ve stumbled across a culinary gem: chipotle tomato sauce. It is mind-blowing delicious, and it serious has changed my vegetarian food game. Because the flavors are such a delicious, smokey mix of savory, slightly sweet and spicy, this effortless sauce elevates even the most humble of spaghetti squash or gluten free pastas, and takes a could be blah dish and adds all the panache you could ever want. I can’t take credit for this recipe, because I learned it from a chef here in DC during one of my cooking classes. I feel like I should send her a thank you note or something, because I love.this.sauce. Here’s why:

  1. Effortless
  2. Inexpensive to make
  3. Makes everything taste better
  4. Free of the fructose corn syrup, sugar, and gross preservatives found in your tomato sauce on the shelf

This recipe is sugar free, preservative free, and you have complete control over the ingredients. This is why I LOVE making everything from scratch. Honestly, homemade tomato sauce is so effortless to make, and has so much more flavor than store bought. If this is one thing you can add to your life, you won’t be sorry for investing a little bit of time in making your own!


SERVES: 16 ounces

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 20-30 minutes


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 BPA free cans of diced plum tomatos (or dice fresh)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
  • chicken stock or water as needed to thin sauce
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 2+ TBS chipotle paste or chipotle peppers
  • OPTIONAL 2 pieces of raw bacon
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Dash of smoked paprika to taste
  • 1-2 tsp stevia to taste (depending on how sweet your tomatoes are, you may not even need this)

THE METHOD:

  1. Saute the onions and garlic in a pot large enough to add all ingredients. For the paleo version, saute them with the bacon for amazing flavor; leave out if you’d like to do a vegan version. If you use bacon, don’t use oil to saute onions.
  2. Add the tomatoes and other ingredients, and bring to a boil. Immediate reduce to simmer, and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. This is key to cooking off the acidity.
  3. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. If you want a very smooth blend, use an immersion blender. Some recipes favor a thicker, chunkier sauce, so mix it up a bit.

Among the many praise worthy attributes of this sauce, I have to include that it freezes beautifully. It’s easy to make a large batch, put it in mason jars and freeze it. Because I can basically ignore it while it simmers away, it’s also a great sauce to include during my weekly food prep. You can dial the heat up by adding jalapenos, or you can round it out by adding a squeeze of fresh orange juice. To make plain sauce, just leave out the chipotle paste and paprika. Same-same, and so effortless! There are so many recipe possibilities for this sauce, so get creative and start cooking! Much love and lots of spice from my kitchen to yours!

Nail Your Handstands & Forearm Balances

My mentor and teacher Kino MacGregor is a yogini extraordinaire. Her handstands are like whoa! Actually, I think all of her asanas (poses) are ah-maaaaa-zing, but those handstands! OMG those handstands! SO fabulous! It came as a huge surprise to me when Kino confessed handstands are her weak point, literally. She’s naturally more flexible than she is strong, and she loses strength easily and has to work hard to build it back up. The fact that Kino has Mere Mortal Syndrome is both a huge relief and also tremendously inspiring. She has perfect inversions, because she trains to have perfect inversions. The take away: you can nail any asana with diligence and consistency. I’m still working on building up strength so that I can easily do my handstands and forearm balances even after doing a million vinyassas during my practice, but I’ve learned a lot after training with Kino both one on one and also in various yoga intensives. I wanted to share some of her knowledge. Another great way to get handstand training is to try out her CodyApp. You can read my review here.

1. Practice a little every day:

This might seem like a no brainier, but evaluate how much time you actually spend working on handstands. When I calculated time spent practicing verses time spent wishing I could nail my handstand and pincha mayurasana (forearm balance), I realized I didn’t dedicate much time to my strength training. Set aside 5 minutes each day to practice handstands and forearm balances. Do it during commercials while you watch TV or first thing in the morning…try to find a consistent time that triggers you to remember to practice each day.

2. Strength + Alignment= Inversion

Put the emphasis on building strength and proper alignment, not getting inverted. I have new respect for those Olympic gymnasts, lemme me tell you! They make handstands look like a breeze. One of the things that really held me back in my training was I focused so much on kicking up in the air and trying to hold my pose from there. It takes a freakish amount of strength to hold inversions. It will take the muscles of the Incredible Hulk to stay inverted if you’re not properly aligned. And, if you’re a woman and, ahem, a little more on the busty side like myself, you’ll have to really work harder to stay in-line. IT CAN BE DONE, YOGIS!

3. Keep Your Vertical Axis. Always.

Your vertical axis is what you’re attempting to get back to each time you stand in mountain pose. If someone drew a line down you, it would be straight up and down, back nicely in line, shoulder and hips stacked, hips slightly tucked in. When you invert, you’re just down mountain pose—upside down of course. A big reason we fall over in handstands/pincha: we’re like leaning towers of Pisa. Not gonna work, ya’ll. Not gonna work. TIP→Stand in mountain pose at the top of you mat. ACTIVATE CORE. Pull belly button up and back towards your spine. Tuck tailbone slightly in so you Stack hips over feet. Ensure your back or bottom is not swaying out or overly tucked in; align shoulders over hips, then raise arms up and align next to ears. If you feel yourself hunching your shoulders up towards your ears, gently roll them down towards your back while keeping arms inline. From the side, your body should be one straight line. This is handstand, you just haven’t inverted it yet. 

5. Poses for Strength

Another things that sacks us in our inversions is we lose good alignment because we’re weak as baby lambs. When upside down, we start collapsing like a dying star, only it’s from our shoulders. They drift up towards our ears and we can’t maintain our pose.

1. Dolphins pose: hold here for at least 5 long, slow breaths. Always work on your breathing, even and especially when strength training.

*Amp it up: from dolphin pose, push up to downward facing dog, then drop back down to Dolphin pose. You’ll die a little…in the best way possible.

2. Stand against a wall, touch your toes and walk your hands out to a very narrow downward facing dog. Lift one leg to the wall and push up into a handstand, keeping your leg on the wall in an L shape. One leg will be in the air in handstand form, the other on the wall. Make sure shoulders are aligned under you.Hold this for at least 5 breaths and drop down, switch sides.

3. Chaturanga: this monster asana is the worst. It.Is.So.Difficult…to do correctly that is. (Read how here) Practice dropping from plank to chaturanga, holding 5 breaths and pushing back up again. Repeat for at least 3 cycles.

4. Handstand against the wall: Place your hands as close to a wall as possible and kick up. Don’t try to balance, because right now we’re building strength and enforcing proper alignment. Stack shoulders over hands, hips over shoulders, and feet over hips. Your arms/shoulders should have enough flexibility that the are by your ears.Hold for as long as you can, at least 10 seconds to start, and repeat 2 more times. Add a little time each day.

5. Handstand dips: Placing hands against the wall, kick up and balance in proper alignment against the wall. Dip down like you’re doing a push up. Do this 3-5 times for a set of 3. TORTURE, ammirite?! It’s brutal, so that should tell you how effective it is. If you’re afraid of face planting (a reasonable fear what with hanging upside down and such) put a pillow under your face while building strength. But if you fall out of your handstand, it’ll end up being an awkward but safe cartwheel, so don’t freak out too much!

Handstands are a true testimony of strength and alignment. They require a TON of strength training, so be patient. Kino told me she devotes some time almost every day to her handstand training. If Kino has to, then I guess we have no excuses! But here’s THE most important thing to remember: a handstand isn’t yoga, it’s just fun. If you get it, great. If you don’t, no worries. Nothing magical will happen, no unicorn will come galloping up and bring you a shiny gold crown (I resent that this didn’t happen to me.) So do what you love, do what makes you happy, and find a pose like handstands or forearm balances to do so you have a growth chart to see how far you can come with daily training. Everything else is gravy. Much love and lots of yoga!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte: Kiss Starbucks Goodbye

Like many women, I pretty much lose my mind to obsession compulsive fall thoughts each year. I practically live in a virtual pumpkin patch, because if something is labeled “pumpkin” Imma gonna snatch it right on up! I consider it my life’s goal to incorporate as much spice into my life as possible, and I take this mission very seriously whilst wearing the classic Basic B*tch Uniform of fall: over-sized sweater, riding boots, and a scarf, of course.  Unlike most women, I loathe Starbucks, their “pumpkin” spice lattes, and their coffee in general. I know…I am such a bougie Wish I Were Euro snob when it comes to my coffee. Look, you have no idea how badly I wish I could go mainstream on my coffee…it would just make my life so much easier! But alas…I just can’t. I do however, love their baristas, all of whom I instantly want to be BFF’s with because they’re so darn delightful.I’m more of a chai drinker when I’m in the States, but I do drink coffee occasionally, and when I do, I wish SO HARD for a legit cup o’ Italian or French brew. Le sigh….wander lust problems, man. Let me tell you. It ruins you in the best ways possible.

My main complaint against Starbucks flavored drinks is that they’re all super artificially flavored and packed with enough sugar to send you into a diabetic coma. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your delicious pumpkin spice latte. This effortless recipe is quick, delicious, and vegan approved! In fact, you’ll even save a ton of money AND calories! You.Are.Welcome. Another plus is that it take way less time than driving to Starbucks and waiting in line for your drink. Get you some.

vegan pumpkin spice latte on Naturally Fit Living


SERVES: 1 

TIME: 5 minutes


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 1 cup of steamed cashew milk or hemp milk. →TIP: these two have a rich, creamy flavor that blends best with coffee) I make my own, however I’ve also used Silk Cashew Milk, which is only 25 calories per cup but scrumptious.
  • Pumkpin spice to taste
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 TBS organic pumpkin puree (the missing ingredient in Starbucks lattes: NO PUMPKIN!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare espresso (I use a simple, inexpensive espresso maker that I bought on one of my trips to Italy. It makes divine coffee and is oh so fast!)
  2. Steam cashew milk, or simply warm on stove top or in microwave; pour in container and close lid, shake milk for about one minute.
  3. Add pumpkin, spices, and stevia, then pour into a blender and blend for about 30 seconds.

VARIATIONS:

You can serve cold by shaking it with ice and pouring over ice; you can make a frappe by throwing ice into the blender. A mix of caramel or melted dark chocolate also taste soooo good!


I love this recipe not only because it’s vegan, but because you would NEVER KNOW IT’S VEGAN. Seriously. Cashew milk is not my go-to for milk, simply because cashews aren’t quite as healthy as coconuts or almonds, but it’s brilliant in recipes where you need a delicious, heavy cream as a base. Whenever I have my girls over, this is an easy drink to whip up and serve with a side of biscotti. Effortless, inexpensive, and delicious. Take that, Starbucks!

vegan pumpkin spice latte on Naturally Fit Living

Smoothie Fail: Is Your Drink Making You Gain Weight?

Smoothie drinks, smoothie bowls…they’re all the rage now.

It seems like almost everyone I know is throwing their not-so-healthy, sugary yogurts in the trash in favor of the smoothie trend. Smoothies are a great way to get a huge amount of nutrients with minimum effort. Everything about this seems awesome…right? So why are people worrying that their oh so healthy smoothie might be the culprit behind their weight gain? Is it even possible to gain weight from something so healthy?! The terrible answer is yes, but don’t freak out! I’ll break down why your smoothie or shake might be sabotaging your weight goals and what you can do about it!

So let’s get down to business. My milkshake does bring all the boys to the yard, only it doesn’t have milk or sugar. It does have all the nutrients my body desperately needs and then some, but it’s easy to ruin a good thing if we fall into these traps:

PORTION CONTROL

Unfortunately too much of a good thing can be high calorie. ARGH! MUST EVERYTHING HAVE PORTIONS! Yes, grasshopper, it must. This pains my heart as much as yours. My brain literally refuses to process delicate serving size recommendations–I’ve never eaten just a 1/2 cup of ANYTHING, let’s be honest.

But here’s the plain and simple truth: the more fruit you throw in that delicious concoction, the more calories and sugar (albeit healthy sugar) you’re adding. Keep track of how many pieces of fruit you’re adding to the mix. Also, consider the amount of smoothie you’re drinking, and what you use as a liquid.

These are calories that add up quickly. If it’s a true meal replacement, don’t stress over it, but it’s also good to keep track of what exactly you’re eating. Vegans and vegetarians tend to over-do our fruit intake. I could live in an orchard and never complain, because I love fruit so much. If I had a choice between gelato and fruit, I’d pick fruit. Unless the gelato were from Italy, and a hot Italian man were serving it to me, then I wouldn’t want to be rude and decline or anything…I mean, I have my manners to consider, right?

FIBER FAIL:

The point of a smoothie is actually not to drink a delicious milkshake like treat for breakfast…ok, ok, that is my goal, but  our truest aim should be to get a ton of fiber with minimum effort. If I were to attempt to eat 3 cups of plain baby spinach for breakfast, it would be a chore. I would protest, commit mutany on myself, and throw my bowl across the kitchen. Blended and diguised as a delish breakfast treat, and my tastebuds are none the wiser. The key: GET YOUR FIBER. Add at LEAST one big handful of greens to your smoothie mix. A lack of fiber makes us hang onto our food, which in turns means we don’t eliminate enough waste and toxins. This leads to major weight gain.

Get your fiber, fiber, fiber, all day long…and not the fiber supplements. That’s what leafy greens are for!

M.I.A. PROTEIN:

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you will especially benefit from throwing a scoop of vegan protein powder into your drinks, or a handful of nuts. Fiber is great and all that, but protein takes longer to digest, and gives our body energy building blocks to play around with later in the day. You won’t feel as hungry or have craving hit you if you have protein in your smoothie. If it’s all fruit and yumminess, you’re basically living on healthy sugars, but sugar nonetheless. Cue plummeting blood sugar levels…whomp whomp….

THE SNEAKY SWEETENER TRAP:

Honey is delicious and actually healthy. Agave has been praised as a healthy sugar sub (it’s not…more on that.) A dash of cane sugar can’t kill you, right (wrong)? If you’re like me, your tastebuds have been overly conditioned to adore and crave sweets, so we add sweeteners to our smoothies. That’s ok to do, but you have to consider what you’re adding.

So here’s the deal: agave actually isn’t great for your blood sugar levels, and it’s not low in calories. Honey is healthy, but also high in calories, so be sparing with it. Stevia is your best bet for low glycemic index and zero calories. A curse be upon you if you dare add fructose corn syrup or other refined sugars to your smoothies. A CURSE, I SAY!

ADDING HIGH CALORIE FOODS:

Nut butters, avocados, coconut oil, coconuts, etc etc etc…yes they’re healthy, but only in moderation. One friend of mine recently expressed frustrating for not losing weight even though she was eating a very clean diet. I asked her what she put in her smoothies, and described it: no greens, tons of fruit, often greek yogurt (NOT a healthy option due to dairy) or a half a cup of peanut butter, some honey, and some other ingredients that I forget because my mind was so staggered by the half a cup of peanut butter. She wasn’t seeing weight loss results like she hoped, but after making a few simple adjustments (like not adding a jar of peanut butter) this gal was rocking her smoothies and losing weight easily.

Drinking a daily green smoothie will drastically aid your weight goals, but most importantly, it will revamp your health! By following the guidelines I’ve listed, you can ensure you get your nutrients without a high caloric intake. So, what’s your favorite way to shake it out? Much love and lots of spice!