All Supplements are NOT Created Equal

Dietary supplements might be one of the most confusing parts of the already confusing world of nutrition. I am no exception. I have been very inconsistent with supplements over the years due to lack of understanding. However, I would always try again because of the recommendations in fitness, nutrition, and healthcare. Every few months, I would choke down a new protein powder or attempt consistency with a multivitamin. This would be my pattern until I have finally learned the secret to supplements. They aren’t created equal!

The FDA does not regulate supplements. So, your fish oil, for example, may say fish oil, may even contain fish oil, but the quality of the fish oil or the ratio of fish oil to “filler” may not be disclosed. This drastically impacts your results from your supplements, and therefore, the drive an motivation to keep taking them (and keep buying them)! Fish oil test: Put your fish oil in the freezer. If it freezes, then there are more fillers than oils.

Dietary supplements are essential to a healthy, balanced diet. I thought for a few years that I could get all of my essential nutrients from my food. But that just wasn’t so. I ended up putting on about 12 lbs in an effort to consume the necessary amount of protein, fiber, calcium, and whatever was being encouraged in my reading. Again, I revisited supplements.

Without a doubt, the Herbalife Supplement lines are incredible. The more I learn about the quality of the products, the more I love. There is incredible science between each product, with each ingredient included with intention, and each combination paired for incredible results. Just as I always recommend finding a healthy diet program that works for you, whether that be counting calories, reducing animal products, or eliminating processed carbs. And while I absolutely love Herbalife, I will advocate for finding quality supplements that are great for you (but I will dare you to find better).

Learn nutrition once and for all in a Weight Loss Challenge!

Successful Meal Planning

Meal Planning is definitely one of those essential, life basics that was left out of public school curriculum. People, in general, have no idea what they should be eating, what’s in what they are eating, and how to plan for their meals. The food we consume has become more of impulse decision-making, rather than careful planning and preparation. No wonder we are more likely to hit a drive-through.

Self-admittedly food consumes many of my thoughts. Am I hungry? What should I eat next? What have I already had today? What am I craving? When is the next meal? By taking a little bit of prep time to plan meals, I eliminate time, mental energy, money, and calories!

Here are a five easy steps to successful meal planning:

  1. Look at your calendar for the week and determine when you will have time to cook and when you will need something quick and easy. Plan dinner first and begin to plug in those meals. Dinner should consist of a lean protein, a cup of fresh or steamed veggies, and a starch, like a whole grain or sweet potato.
  2. Determine if you will have leftovers for lunch before planning lunch. If not, then plan lunches. Lunch should follow the same rule: a lean protein, a starch (whole grains), and fiber (fruit or veggie).
  3. Snacks: Snacks should be easy and readily available. fruit, edamame, nuts, raw veggies, protein bars, or yogurt are all great snacks.
  4. Breakfast: Keep it easy and balanced, like eggs and oatmeal, nutrition shakes, or a high protein cereal.
  5. Make your grocery list from your meal plan and shop.

Nutrition: It’s time for a Change

I remember when I used to think that a sandwich and chips were a good choice for lunch. I just finished my lunch with a friend at a local deli. And I feel full. Stuffed. And just Blah!  From about the age of 16-21 a turkey sandwich was my favorite food in the world. I felt very “healthy.” It wasn’t fried, right? So it had to be healthy. As my nutrition knowledge has progressed, so have my food choices.

Of course, a turkey sandwich can be healthy-ish, but when you compare your bread and deli meat choices, there is a lot more processed than whole nutrition. Then you add the fillers. Mayo, Cheese, Tomato, Lettuce, Mustard, Bacon, Salad Dressing, Avocado… you may end up with a high-fat, high-calorie, high-processed meal.

If you are at a point where nutrition feels daunting, this is my number one advice: Slow down. Take it one step at a time. Make this a long-term goal.

Follow these steps to Success in Nutrition:

  1. Change one thing at a time, gradually. For instance, if you love whole milk, try 2%, then 1%, then skim. Go as slow as you need. Mix them for even a more gradual change.
  2. Learn about whole, nutrient-dense foods like fiber and protein.
  3. Understand your Resting Metabolic Rate in order to determine your daily caloric intake.
  4. Listen to your body. Find a program that fits your body’s needs.

Slowly, you will learn more about nutrition and your body. You will begin to make healthier and healthier food choices. You will find success. Most of us are relearning many years of poor eating habits and nutrition. We cannot expect the changes to occur over night. However, if you stay committed, they will happen.

Eggplant Stew

I just made the most amazing, quick, easy healthy, affordable, high fiber, dinner. I was also blown away by how inexpensive Eggplants are. Great buy!

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 1 Bell Pepper (I used Yellow)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomatoes
  • 1/2 C Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper

Now, I chopped and mixed all of the ingredients in the Crock Pot cooked low for about 5 hours. A few extra options would be to add mushrooms to create extra heartiness or shredded mozzarella for extra decadence. Serve with your favorite grain, such as quinoa, couscous, or whole grain pasta.

The Benefits of Cellular Nutrition

What is cellular nutrition? Cellular nutrition is simply providing each cell in our body optimal nutrition and absorption. For those that know me, know that I am not very scientific, so imagining cells was not an easy concept for me. I come from “the sum is greater than the whole of it’s parts.” However, we all know that when a “part” isn’t working efficiently, the “sum” isn’t working efficiently.
 Ok, fine, let’s talk cells then. Over time, our body stops absorbing the vitamins and minerals that we consume. It doesn’t stop absorbing the calories, though. Not fair! So it is important to get down to the very root, the cell of the problem and mend that process.
 The benefits of cellular nutrition are extraordinary. For those that have seen the movie, “Limitless,” I am pretty sure that the writer was basing it off of his experience with cellular nutrition rather than speed. Through the process of cleansing, absorption, and cell re-generation, cellular nutrition maximizes our health. Cellular nutrition is credited for the decrease in multiple diseases, including cancers. Other benefits include renewed “vitality,” noted through energy and mental clarity, dissemination of toxins and weight, and greater levels of appetite satisfaction.
  If you aren’t asking, “How do I get cellular nutrition!” then I probably lost you in the cell lingo, which can be easily rectified. From my research, I have found cellular nutrition achieved in two ways. One is through a raw, vegan, food-pairing diet. The other is through proper supplementation. Whichever method is right for you is the method that is encouraged. It will be the best thing that you do for your health.

Radical Acceptance: Can you do it?

No matter how healthy or wise or successful you become, you will never be immune to crappy things happening. You will get cut-off on the highway, have to deal with an inept co-worker, cope with illness, deal with grief, and have bad days. This is life. When you sign up for the good, you also have to deal with the less desirable. And in our lifetime, we will probably still see horror in the world. Maybe you have even experienced some of that horror personally.

Here is the deal: We have to accept this as is for right now. If you have experienced something in the past, there is no way possible that we can erase that. We also cannot solve the world problems over night. And there are times when dealing with a toxic relationship will feel as big as a world problem. It is when we are able to accept it as is, that we can actually move past it. We do not fall victim to it. We do not get wrapped up in the ‘why’ behind it. We say, “This is the problem at hand, and this is how we deal with it.”

I utilize the word radical because for many acceptance is such a struggle and with deep struggles we have to take drastic measures. We have to dive right in and get the work done with urgency. If we don’t then we can get so caught up in all of the negative emotions that drown us. But when we can put the emotions, thoughts, and worries aside, we can see that the situation is more manageable.

You might hate your job, wish to be in a relationship, wish to be out of a relationship, buried in debt, or faced with any of life’s struggles, However, you will not be able to change your position if you are unable to accept where you are, check in with yourself (remember the trust we talked about) and then make the best decision for you.

Can We Practice Non-Striving in a Go-Getter Society?

When we talk about mindfulness, there is a lot of talk about just being. Being in the moment. Not forcing anything. No push or pull of yourself- your thoughts, your emotions, or your body. A principle of non-striving.

Whoa! Non-striving? Well, anyone who isn’t striving surely will never compete in this fast-paced, go-getter society. They will squander. They will fail. Or will they? I am as guilty of a “what’s next” mentality as anyone (see my post on Patience). However, the non-striving mentality is what allows us to clear the mental rubbish and excel!

Mindfulness does not assume that you shouldn’t have goals. That you shouldn’t do better, try harder, or serve more. Principles of non-striving are to assume that we do not force any outcome and that we are able to flow with the process. As a therapist, I learned an important lesson when I placed my expectations on my clients as to where I thought that they should be in the process. I was pushing for a different outcome, striving for something that was not mine to strive for. I also see this happen with individuals who are creating a mindfulness practice. They are striving for an end result, seeking relaxation or enlightenment. What do you see as possible outcomes for these scenarios? A struggle between me and my client and a lack of relaxation. Ever become more anxious when you are having a restless sleep and the end result is less sleep and more anxiety? Yup! This is what I am talking about. When we can clear out our expectations of ourselves to achieve, then we can also take away the punishment that we put ourself through. When we stop that punishment, we can objectively see what kept us from achieving and move forward.

Not only can we practice non-striving in this go-getter society, but we will get there faster if we do!

Listen, Learn, and Trust

Trusting your intuition is one of life’s greatest skills. You are the expert of you. I, for instance, may have expertise in diet, exercise, behavior modification, mindfulness-based stress reduction, but I am not the expert of you.

Trust is the ability to give complete faith in yourself that you are knowledgable, capable, and good. It is the ability to operate by your value system, to do your best, and to forgive fallacy. It is yet another principle of mindfulness. To be fully connected to yourself, present with yourself, aware, so that you can do your best and thus, trust that you did.

Trust & Mindfulness

  • Trust your intuition
  • Trust the process
  • Trust your loved ones
  • Trust your body
  • Trust your mind
  • Trust your emotions

Celebration = Gratitude

Approach with a Beginner’s Mind

You know that feeling when you are pleasantly surprised? It might be when you return to a restaurant for an incredible meal after your first experience was a bust, maybe when you slugged into the gym and had the best workout in months, or the all-too-familiar scenario when one partner anticipates that the other hasn’t unloaded the dishwasher, yet again, walks in with a stink face but is greeted by a clean sink.  Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Can you foresee how some of our predetermined assumptions could have negatively impacted the outcome of our event. We quite possible could have missed out on something great or started something terrible because of our forlorn conclusions.

I remember the struggles that I experienced with this when I was actively practicing hot yoga. For anyone that has not taken a Bickram hot yoga class, I will preface with each class is more or less the same. You are taken through a similar series of poses while sweating your butt off. I would go to the class and have expectations about what was next and how I should “perform” it. I found myself more critical and frustrated with myself when I would have “off” days. I would tell myself that it was the same routine and that I should be constantly getting better, rather than cheerleading myself for being present, increasing my flexibility, strength, and stamina, or allowing myself the time for practice.

Approaching each situation with a Beginner’s Mind is another mindful principal. You are able to approach each situation with intrigue and without the wherewithal to prejudge. You open yourself up to new possibilities- possibilities that we can either enjoy or learn from. It’s almost like approaching each event like a child- curious, without judgment, open to possibility.

Next time you find yourself approaching a situation that you would typically find less than desirable, try reproaching with a Beginner’s Mind.

** For more information like this, please check out the upcoming workshop, Mindfulness in Daily Living, as well as aLeader coming soon.