Addition Nutrition

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week, and a great summer so far. It's been a busy summer for our family, full of vacations, exciting projects, and down time with my little family. Overall though, I am so ready to be out of this crazy California heat that we have been experiencing and can't wait to get into the Fall spirit! Anyone else??

I've also had a really fun time running my new wellness community on Facebook! It's free to join and I have been doing weekly nutrition education lessons, plus accountability check ins and even sharing some fun recipes! Click here if you want to join!

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A topic that I recently chatted about in this group is the concept of Addition Nutrition. Nowadays, with all the diets out there, the majority of these plans focus on eliminating certain foods and food groups in order to reach your weight loss or health goals. These diets recommend cutting out meat, bread, fruit, fat, and so many other foods that leave many feeling deprived and reaching for junk food on day 3.

Been there, done that.

But, what I have learned lately in my own journey, as well as what I practice with clients, is the idea of addition nutrition. What can we ADD to our plate, our pantry, and our meals to feel healthier and fuel our bodies better? Can we eat more vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, wholesome carbs, and good quality proteins? Can we drink more water, add a salad to each meal, and snack on some vegetables in the afternoon?

OF COURSE WE CAN. It's all about your mindset and how you view healthy living. If you just follow a diet or plan that is a list of "no" foods, you won't be staying on that for very long.

What I try to do to keep my mind right is focus on the abundance of nutritious and satisfying foods that make me feel my best. Then I go buy those things, prepare those meals, and look forward to all the food that I have on my meal plan. I enjoy my meals because I am not coming from a place of deprivation. Rather, I am looking at all the foods I can ADD to my day that nourish me and fill me up.

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On a personal note, I have struggled with this recently in regards to my gluten free diet. I have a doctor-diagnosed gluten sensitivity, and yet this summer, I found it very hard to stick to my gluten free diet. I started to focus on all the foods I couldn't have, and had a scarcity mindset towards food. BUT, a quick shift in mindset is just what I needed to snap out of it! I am now choosing to focus on all the grains, meats, vegetables, fruits, and other foods that ARE part of a gluten free diet...and let me tell you there are several! The more you approach healthy living with an abundance mindset, the happier and healthier you'll be.

My challenge to you this weekend is to make a list of all the healthy and nutritious foods you want to start ADDING to your meal plan. Then go to the store and stock up on these foods. Prepare some meals in advance if you can, and approach this new week with excitement and an abundance mindset towards healthy living. I promise you, it'll make all the difference!

Gluten-free does not equal healthy

I got a wonderful and thoughtful question from a blog reader last week, and I thought I’d answer it in a post because I am sure there are a handful of people that are confused about the same thing.

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I know there has been a lot of confusion over the past couple years about gluten free diets and whether or not they are healthy. Let me start by saying I have had my own experience eating gluten free and eating normally over the past few years, and have discovered that, for me, gluten free/paleo-ish is the healthiest way for me to eat for my health, digestion, and mental wellness. BUT, that does not mean that when we eat gluten-free, our diet is automatically healthier.

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One of my blog readers sent me a message last week stating that she saw that I eat gluten free, and that she tried going gluten free herself a few years ago but found that the gluten free breads, pastas, and mixes were all high in carbohydrates from rice and potato flours, and that they weren’t actually healthier. She wanted to know if she was right in thinking this and basically, what the deal is with gluten-free!

I’ll start by saying that this reader is SO smart to pick up on the fact that gluten free products are not healthier than their wheat flour counterparts. Just because a product is labeled gluten free does not mean it is healthier or a better alternative. And frankly, most of the time, it is higher in carbohydrates and sugar than the regular products. All foods are a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals, so whether or not it has gluten in it does not change this fact.

Gluten is simply the protein found in wheat, and when people have allergies, they are typically reacting to the protein in a certain food. Gluten free products are substituted (most of the time) with rice flour or potato starch, plus are found to have even more sugar in them to make them taste good. They are still just has high (or higher) in carbohydrates, are often times devoid of fiber, and are still a treat. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, and gluten free pancakes are still pancakes.

 

 My favorite  paleo cookie recipe  from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

My favorite paleo cookie recipe from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these foods. I love gluten free toast from Trader Joe’s and Pamela’s gluten free pancake and baking mix! But these gluten free treats should still be treated as TREATS. They should be eaten just as often as you would eat a regular pancake or regular cookie. Not an everyday food, but a sometimes food.

So be a savvy shopper. Just because something is labeled gluten free doesn’t mean that we can have bowls and bowls of gluten free pasta and still think that’s a “healthy” food choice.

And if you want to go gluten free, the best thing to do is replace your usual breads, pastas, or cookies, with plants. THAT is the healthiest way to go gluten free. So instead of having a hamburger, have a lettuce wrap with an additional side salad. Instead of having a cookie with your salad, have some more vegetables on the side or some fruit.

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And most importantly, if you don’t have negative symptoms from eating gluten, there is no reason for you to go gluten free. Yes, gluten is inflammatory over all, and I don’t think there is any harm in cutting it out (if done right like I mentioned above, with the addition of plants). BUT if you don't experience any negative side effects from consuming gluten, there is no need to cut it from your diet. It won’t automatically make you healthier, especially if you are still consuming gluten free noodles, cookies, pancakes, and more.

I personally gravitate towards a gluten free diet because it helps me with my digestion issues and my anxiety. I even tried to incorporate some back into my diet as recently as last week (kodiak pancakes are a favorite of mine!) and starting feeling those similar symptoms return. For me, I have a clear reaction to consuming gluten, which is why I avoid it unless a food is absolutely worth it (and trust me, it rarely is worth it for me!) But just because I eat a gluten free diet does NOT automatically mean I am healthy. I eat a ton of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and gluten free grains from time to time, along with those occasional gluten free/paleo treats, and all of that contributes to a healthy diet.

I hope this helps you become more aware of your food choices too and learn to be a detective in the grocery store and not just fall for any marketing that is slapped on our food products nowadays. The more we know, the better we do. And if you all have any more questions, please send them in! I love answering these types of questions I get, so please don’t hesitate!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

 

 

Friday Favorites & Updates

Hello friends! Long time no chat! It's been exactly a month since I've blogged. I've had every intention of keeping up with this place, but with being a working momma and Emma getting more mobile every day, it's been hard to carve out time to consistently blog. It's still such as passion of mine though, so I promise to be more consistent! Anything YOU all would like to see more of in this space? I'd appreciate any ideas in the comments below!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things that have been on my heart and mind this past month...starting with the best cake smash ever!

1. Emma's cake smash.

Emma thoroughly enjoyed her cake on her first birthday! It was a simple white cake with vanilla frosting and we let her go at it for a couple minutes and then swiftly took it away.

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And yes, it was a full sugar, full flour, totally regular cake. I didn't make anything sugar-free or organic or anything like that because the truth of the matter is (from the research I've done and children I've worked with), when you restrict a child, they are even more likely to rebel and do things that you don't want them to do. She eats healthy vegetables, proteins, and whole grains 99% of the time and I want her to have a healthy relationship towards treats from the very beginning; starting with the fact that treats are "sometimes" foods, and not "everyday foods" and that it's ok to have a treat on your birthday, then move on with your life.

2. Birthday trip to Disneyland

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We took Emma to Disneyland the Monday after her birthday and we had a BLAST! She slept for the first two hours which gave my hubby and I sweet time to walk around, grab coffee, and reminisce about our days at Disneyland when we were dating and just married. Disneyland holds a special place in my heart, and now it's even more special to be able to enjoy it with my little tribe!

3. Being Brave

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I grabbed this book on a whim at Target and I am so glad I did. Almost every devotional, Bible verse, or motivational quote I've read lately has been on the concept of being brave. Think God is trying to tell me something? All that to say, I highly recommend this book!

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4. Cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's.

This stuff has been blowing up my Instagram feed for weeks, so I finally decided to give in and try it. Oh. My. Gosh. WE LOVED IT! Even my husband who needs meat with practically every meal, thoroughly enjoyed this. We used a pesto cream sauce (literally combined a 1/2 cup lite Alfredo with 1 tsp of pesto and mixed it well). Such a good meal and I'll be definitely grabbing a few bags next time I hit up TJ's!

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5. Kodiak Cakes.

A box of these protein pancakes have been sitting in my pantry for a couple weeks. I finally made them and they were SO good! And all you do is mix the mix with water, so easy! I added a dash of cinnamon to the batter too, because cinnamon. These complemented my spinach scramble nicely and kept me full for quite a while! I highly recommend!

 

I hope you all have had a great week and can pick at least 5 things you are grateful for and are "favorites" in your life! It's always good to have a positive mindset and look for the joy and blessings in our life verses only focusing on what may be stressing us out! Have a great weekend and blessed Mother's Day to all you mommas out there! Not gonne lie, we are rockstars!

Focusing on the FEELING of Healthy Living

Many of us need to find a certain motivation to help us stick to healthy lifestyle. What helps some people is the scale, size of your jeans, an accountability buddy, or looking good for an upcoming event. But, I do believe one of the most powerful motivators is focusing on how you FEEL when you move your body and nourish yourself.

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Numbers don't always tell us the whole truth. Sure, the scale is a pretty good indicator of your relationship with gravity (insert eye roll), but it doesn't tell you anything about how much muscle you've built, how many vegetables you've eaten, or how hard you've worked to get to a place where healthy living is your default.

Lately, what has been motivating me is focusing on how I feel after I choose a nourishing food vs. a not so nourishing food. Or even how I feel just eating one cookie vs. five cookies. Healthy living doesn't have to be all or nothing, but if most of your food choices are fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and good sources of protein, the rest falls into place. The occasional treats take care of themselves, and you will FEEL healthy, strong, and energetic.

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So if you aren't seeing the progress you'd like to on the scale, or can't fit into that favorite pair of jeans quite yet, focus on how you FEEL after a day of healthy eating and moving your body. Write down what comes to your mind to remind yourself of how PROUD you are of your efforts. And let that be enough, because trust me, that feeling can carry you through the times when you want to go off the trails, and the way you feel BECAUSE of your healthy choices can help you go from one good decision to the next!

Set Goals to Grow

It's the beginning of a new month...and you know what that means. It's time to set some goals and dream big for the new month. You can really set goals any time and any day, but there is just something about the freshness of a new month that makes it seem like anything is possible.

I get asked VERY frequently about how I stay motivated, how I set goals, and how I actually achieve them. To be honest, I am a natural list and goal maker. I love making lists and dreaming big, then crossing things off. But I do believe that you can work at becoming this type of person too, even if it is not your natural inclination. You just have to find a way that works for you!

Because the reality is, if you aren't setting goals and working towards them, you aren't growing as a person, which is SO important. We should always be transforming and learning and growing into the person God has created us to be. My mom always says, "there is no destination in life when you are finally done and 'mastered' at something, it's all about the journey." She's a teacher, so it makes sense that she would instill in me that the journey is where all the learning happens. Much of the time, the goal is not as important as the person you BECOME while on the journey to achieving that goal.

If you need help getting started on goal setting, read this post I wrote at the beginning of the year. You can set goals for different areas in your life and focus down your priorities in this way. But what I'm trying to get at here is that if you want to grow as a person, goal setting is crucial, and stretching and growing yourself every day is exciting and empowering.

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I heard this quote this morning and it really fired me up: "a rubber band is useless unless it is stretched." I don't want to be useless in this life of mine. God has given me potential, just like He has given YOU all potential as well. So don't sit back on the sidelines of your life. Make things happen, go after your goals, whether they are career-focused, health-focused, financially-focused, or really anything!

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And most importantly, once you vision and dream up your goals, WRITE THEM DOWN. Writing down your goals is soooooo powerful. Research shows that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. And that means more growth, more empowerment, and more confidence being instilled in you that you actually CAN achieve what you set out to do.

What are some of your goals for this new month? In what areas do you want to grow and stretch? Start dreaming big and thinking OUTSIDE of the box, because you were made for MORE, and God has a lot in store for you! If you've wanted to get healthy, start now! (and I can help!). If you want to save money, make a budget and set goals for how much you want to save each month. If you want to get a promotion, meet with your boss and ask what you can start doing now to set yourself up for your dream job. If you want to write a book, write tpday, even if it is just ONE page...just get started! Whatever it is, set your goals and dreams, write them down, then watch the person you become while on the journey to achieving those goals. Trust me, it's SO worth it to live a life of growth and living into the person God created you to be!

Staying Happy & Healthy When #Momlife Tests You

This past week has been the TOUGHEST week to date of being a momma. I absolutely love being a mom and it is what I've always wanted to be. When I was a little girl, when someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, A MOM! DUH! I attribute that to having an amazing momma myself, plus being surrounded by loving aunts that were like second mothers to me. Being a mom has been the biggest blessing in the world.

But I think what often goes unmentioned is how tiring, frustrating, and hard it can be, especially for us new moms. I have never questioned my decisions as much as I do now. I always wonder "Am I doing what is best for Emma? Will this ruin her? How do I set her up for the best life EVER?" And of course the forever-repeated question:

“IS THAT NORMAL???”

But what God is continually teaching me is that Emma is His, and He has entrusted my husband and I to raise her and care for her, but ultimately, I cannot be anxious about every single decision I make regarding Emma. That's no way to live, and that is not the recipe for a happy and healthy momma.

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Emma's sleep habits have been awful the past few months, and especially this past month when she started waking up 10+ times per night and not taking naps throughout the day. She was always tired with swollen little eyes and could not get to sleep as hard as she tried. So my husband and I finally decided to get her on a better routine during the day, put her down for her naps and night sleep at the same times, and give her more structure. The poor girl has been dragged around by us for months, to every event or day away, with NO regularity to her day. I know how well I function with structure, and of course babies need it even more!! But getting her on this new schedule and routine has been SO emotionally draining for me. Being a mom is hard, but sometimes, you have to do the tough things.

Do you know how many times I've contemplated binging this past week? SO many times. Do you know how many tears I've shed instead? SO MANY. But, I am proud to say, that I have chosen the foods that make me HAPPY. That I know serve me and make me a happy, healthy, and whole momma, and that don't make me fall apart. Because life is stressful enough without adding the stress of making unhealthy food choices into the mix!

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Eating healthy this past week has made me an even better mom to Emma when times are tough and both of us are getting used to a new routine. Imagine if I had thrown my self-care out the window during this week? I would have been more stressed out, which in turn makes her more stressed out (ohhhhh that mommy-baby bond is strong!) and that would have made it even HARDER for us to implement the new principles we are following.

My desire in sharing this is for all you moms out there to know that taking care of yourself IS NOT SELFISH. Getting my workout in every morning is not selfish. Eating healthy foods and cooking at home while Emma watches Netflix for 20 minutes will NOT ruin her, will make me a happier and better fueled momma, and will give her MORE security in her day. And no matter what stress you and your family are going through, make sure you are taking care of YOU too.

So many moms come to me and say that they could never workout or eat healthy because of their kids. Ladies, it should be because of our kiddos that we DO THESE THINGS! You can do it, you deserve it, your kids deserve it, and your family deserves it.

So yes, while there are days where I may accidentally skip a meal or over-eat at another because of the stresses of day to day mom life, I am proud to say that I've stuck to my happy, whole eats amidst the stress and changes, which I would have used as an excuse in the past. And this has given me a calmer, and more positive outlook on this new stage of parenting and the learning and changes that go along with following a new routine.

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To all those stressed out moms out there, take some time for you today, move your body to gain those endorphins, eat foods that nourish and fuel you, so that you can be that happy momma that you know you are. Oh and find some mom friends you can vent to...like me! We all need that ;)

Have a happy Thursday, everyone!