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.

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.

Community Weight Loss Challenge

A Weight Loss Challenge is a great way to learn safe and effective methods for health and weight loss, while building camaraderie and being motivated by a little healthy competition… and a cash prize.

On Wednesday, February 15th, I will be facilitating a community Weight Loss Challenge for the Downtown Raleigh community. It is an 8 week challenge targeting healthy nutrition, increasing exercise, getting good hydration, and losing some extra weight. Don’t have much to lose? No problem, because we will also talk about the benefits of cellular nutrition and how to increase your resting metabolic rate, which is important for everyone. The Weight Loss Challenge is fun, interactive, supportive, and a great way to get healthy. We might even throw in an optional group walk/run as the weather gets warmer.

This community event is open to all ages and all degrees of health. The 8 week Challenge cost is $35, putting $30 back into the cash winning pot for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes!  Check out complete details below.

When: Wednesday, February 15th at 6pm

Where: 612 W. Lane St

Cost: $35

Each registration comes with a complimentary nutrition profile. To register and for complete details, contact Brook Powers,

Celebration = Gratitude

To Sleep Well in the New Year

I just read a study which stated that sleeping more was the third biggest New Year’s resolution. It is no doubt that millions of Americans are having issues with sleep and energy. We are working and worrying more and more. And there is a growing trend in unhealthy energy products that will shoot you up, but will also have a dramatic impact on your sleep, only further enhancing the cycle. Both of these have a resounding impact on good sleep health.

Studies demonstrate that the benefits of 8-10 hours of sleep per night could benefit cardiovascular health, weight management, healthy skin, prevent cancers, decrease mental illness, and lead to a healthier well-being.

So what is getting in the way of our sleep? No doubt that there are some extraneous variable out there, like having babies or rowdy neighbors. However, the most common forms of insomnia and sleep deprivation are obesity and anxiety. The good news is that both of these are very treatable! However, we have to make it a priority. We have to commit to follow the sleep rules and to putting ourselves FIRST. We have to commit to health and a long and fulfilling life. 

Here are five essential steps to good sleep hygiene:

  1. Stop caffeine consumption five hours prior to bed.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Do not starve yourself.
  4. Create a soothing bed-time routine.
  5. Incorporate sleep supplements, such as calcium, magnesium, and L-Arginine for optimal restoration.

What Percentage of Fitness is Mental?

You hear it all of the time… Such and such (Insert high number here) percentage of working out is mental. I would say it all the time: If I can just get myself there, then I will be fine. I did some browsing to see what percentage people really attributed our fitness goals to our mentality. The results were high. Shockingly, high. Most were stated at 80-100%!! Wow! So let me review that- 80-100% of our success in reaching our fitness goals is our mentality? So less than 20% of our hindrance is due to ability? I suppose I would agree with that. We could rationalize probably any excuse in the world.

So why the heck are fitness professionals screaming at you, when that is NOT the way to change our behavior? Why are we constantly teaching methods of mindlessness if we need you to tap into your own head to be successful? Don’t get me wrong; these methods might work temporarily. But the changes will not be lasting.

I have been doing a bit of “market research”. In my research, I have encountered a ton of interesting concepts encouraging me to “check-out” of my workout in order to endure the pain. Hmmm. That doesn’t seem beneficial. It is in this mental check-out that we are more susceptible to injury. It is also here, where we will ignore just how amazing we are! I realize for many people they haven’t learned the difference between these two voices. They haven’t learned to trust their inner voice because someone else is always telling them that they are wrong. You are the professional of You. So, who should you be listening to? Who is going to hold the right answers?

The benefits of a regular mindful practice will teach you how to listen to and validate those voices in your head. It is here, that we are able to have the most satisfying workout. We know that we pushed ourselves; we are satisfied with our progress; and we feel uplifted by our own accomplishment. We trusted our most important trainer.

What percentage of your fitness is mental? Is it time to take the Wellness Challenge?

How to Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness. Being present in the moment. Living with Intention. It all means the same thing. It is simply the answer to all of your questions, worries, and stressors. So simple, yet so complicated. As minute as your breath and as complex and loving the unlovable.  So how do we practice this? Follow these simple steps to get you started.

1. Listen. Listen to your thoughts. Hear what you are saying.

2. Observe. Observe your emotions. Notice physiological responses. Gather observations through your five senses. Observe your judgments. Have the ability to observe without reacting.

3. Focus. Notice when your mind is pulling, pushing, or wandering and gently bring it back.

4. Participate. Respond fluidly. “Observe what is going well and kindly respond, how can I make it better?”

5. Practice doing one thing in the moment.

6. Apply the Seven Pillars.

Applying principles of diet and exercise are simply not enough to a healthy well-being. Mindfulness must be applied to practice patience, non-judgement and full awareness. How do you plan to be more mindful?

You Can’t Achieve Your Goals if You Haven’t Made Any

The first step to every counseling or coaching relationship is to figure out your goals. I ask a series of questions that helps me identify what you want to accomplish. The question of your goals is always asked when I am done. I don’t want to miss anything. Sometimes you know what your goals are and sometimes you don’t. However, we will never get to your destination if we don’t clearly identify your goals.

Clearly defining your goals is the #1 way to achieving them. Many clients will tell me that they want to be happy or healthy. What the heck does that mean? I can assure you that happy to you might be different to someone else. So you and I need to carefully iron out what happy is. Does it mean satisfaction in your relationship? Being less tired? Having a fulfilling career? What will it take you to achieve happiness? If we can’t identify it, we won’t know when we get there.

Setting clear, measurable goals both short-term and long-term helps to bring awareness to what we want and need. It enables you to create a path to get there. We might need to redefine them along the way. We might need to break them down into microscopic steps, but it is crucial for a successful outcome.

I mentioned earlier, that I have often heard clients tell me that 2012 will be their year. What does that mean? How will we make this new year yours? What will you have to achieve to feel that this endeavor was successful? And how will you get there?

Week 1 of the Wellness Challenge is all about setting clearly defined, measurable goals. Then we follow steps that keep them at the forefront of your mind, make them attainable, and combat the obstacles that will surely show up. Is this your year? Let’s take on the Wellness Challenge together!