How I Started Eating Mostly Raw Foods

How I Started Eating Mostly Raw Foods - I have been saying for the past 5 years I have been wanting to eat more raw. If you have been reading my blog posts over the past 3 years, you will see me intermittently post how I started “Raw Monday” or “Raw Wednesday”, but I never maintain it for more than a few months.I have been saying for the past 5 years I have been wanting to eat more raw. If you have been reading my blog posts over the past 3 years, you will see me intermittently post how I started “Raw Monday” or “Raw Wednesday”, but I never maintain it for more than a few months.

In January, as I was setting my 2017 goals and for the 3rd year in a row, I wrote down “Eat more raw”.

As soon as I wrote it, I started wondering why this was so hard for me. I believe in what eating more raw foods will do for me mentally and physically. I love almost all fruits and veggies and nuts.

I looked at my daily meal plans and realized I wasn’t buying many raw foods from the grocery store. Why not? I have no idea. My friend, Wendy, who is my voice of reason, suddenly sounded in my head (or I may have been talking to myself) “If you want to eat more raw, why don’t you just eat more raw?” It seemed TOO simple, but I started! And over the past 2 months, I have eaten more raw than not, and as expected, I feel amazing. My body, mind, and soul have completely responded to my new “mostly raw” lifestyle.

This made me wonder why we don’t do the things we know are best for us, that will make us feel good, that will bring us joy or make us happier, healthier, wealthier, etc.

I think it’s one of two things…

  1. It’s too easy NOT to do these things. We get comfortable being comfortable. We aren’t willing to go that little extra step outside our comfort zone to risk possibly being better…of course with no guarantee. We aren’t willing to give up the good to go for the great!
  2. We are stuck in a habit. I was in the habit of eating Daiya Foods Vegan Cheezy Mac (yum) after a long workout. I was used to stopping at Del Taco for a bean and rice burrito (or four) after a race. I was in the habit of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy P.B. & Cookies Ice Cream on Friday afternoons. I was in the habit of eating popcorn at the movie theater. So it never even occurred to me to trade any of these old habits out for new habits that serve me better and move me more toward my ultimate life/health goals.

So next time you are looking at a goal you have (or have had for years or decades) that you aren’t getting anywhere with, ask yourself if it could be one of these two things holding you back. Awareness is the key to change. As soon as I made myself aware that I “wanted” to eat more raw but wasn’t’ really taking the actual steps to “eating” more raw, everything changed. And it actually WAS simple! And easy. And beneficial. And exactly what I needed! Of course I already knew that.

Just Do It.

And in case you missed what I think was the most important sentence of this entire post, I will repeat it…

Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great!

And if you started reading this article to learn how to incorporate more raw foods into your diet, here are my top 3 tips…

  1. Keep it simple. I tried to make it too expensive and complicated at first by following 3-4 new recipes a day. Now I primarily eat fruits, veggies, and nuts. Just plain. Simple.
  2. Start with one meal a day, not a whole “Raw Wednesday”. I made the mistake of designating an entire day. Now I know I do better just a meal at a time. So that way if I love a certain food each day, like Shakeology, I can still drink it every day. It throws me off when I miss a whole day.
  3. Baby steps. Like always in my life. When I started actually having success with this, it’s when I slowed down and took baby steps. I started replacing one snack a day with fruit, veggie, or nuts. And kept everything else the same. I eased into it by taking out the “chickn” from my vegan Caesar salad but kept the “cheese”. Little changes add up to big changes…ALWAYS!

And above all, like anything, be patient, forgiving, and gentle with yourself.

You’re making these changes to better yourself, not to beat yourself up when you make a mistake. And PS…you WILL make mistakes.

Love yourself more.

See you soon!

Food For Thought

Food For Thought - God damn food! It's such a blessing and such a curse. A necessary evil that brings so much joy!God damn food! It’s such a blessing and such a curse. A necessary evil that brings so much joy!

I think about food WAY more than I want to. It’s a habit I have had for over 30 years. I used to love thinking about food all the time. Planning what I would eat, calculating the exact amount of working out I needed to do in order to eat whatever I wanted, coming up with creative ways to trick my brain into thinking I was eating enough or too much or something healthy or something forbidden.

But now it’s more of a burden. Now I want to free up my mind for more productive thoughts: to plan new things. Maybe new adventures, business strategies, life purposes, visions, or to cultivate more self love and give more to others. And only obsess about which nutrients I need to eat to give me the most energy, make me the best athlete, and make me feel joy every time I put something into my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have come a LONG way!! My food thoughts have gone from occupying 90% of my day to 40%. I’m grateful for the work I have done and e guidance and support I have been given, but now I want more (or less depending on how I look at it). I want food to be a quick decision when I am physically hungry, need to recover from a workout, or need a quick pick me up to get me through whatever else I am focusing all my time, energy, and effort on in that moment.

I am ready to let go of the habit of thinking about food more than what is necessary for me to reach my goals in my business, fitness, personal growth, and life.

I am ready to let go of whatever served me IN THE PAST when I first developed this habit as a child. I am 44 years old now and this pattern no longer serves me.

I’m open to what comes next.

#hopeful

#ihavethepowertochoosemystory

#unconditionalselflove

#lifegoals

These were my thoughts during a 4 hour bike ride at the gym.

#thisiswhathappenswheniletmymindrunfree

Stay in touch!

www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

Hang w me on facebook…

www.Facebook.com/groups/RealResultsRock

See you soon!

What’s The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan?

What’s The Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan?Over the past week I have had 2 people ask me what the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan was. I figured there must be other people out there who don’t know the difference, so here it is!

Before I share the difference, I just want to put out there that I know there are several specific types of vegetarians, as some will eat fish or even poultry, but I’m going by the definitions I know to be true for myself.

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat any meat or meat by-products. This includes all meats such as beef, pork, chicken, veal, etc where an animal is killed and its meat is eaten. Most vegetarians still eat eggs and dairy, but won’t eat things like gelatin and other products made directly from animal parts.

A vegan is someone who eats no animal products at all. No eggs, dairy, or meat. Most vegans also get to the place where they don’t wear leather, wool, angora, fur, ivory, or any other parts of an animal whether the animal was killed for that sole purpose or not.

Because dairy and eggs are so rampant in North America, and cheese is so addictive, there are far fewer vegans than vegetarians. Plus many vegetarians can see the harm in killing an animal for food, but not in taking its eggs or milk.

The name “vegan” came from the founder of the Vegan Society in 1944 as a statement against vegetarians who ate dairy products. He took the first and last letters of the word vegetarian to create his orthodox version of vegetarianism (blog.dictionary.com/veganism).

There are lots of great resources out there these days to help educate you on both veganism and vegetarianism.

Netflix has several documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, Food Choices, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, Food Matters, Cowspiracy, and Live And Let Live.

There are also many great books about the subject, my faves being Skinny Bitch, Thug Kitchen, Meat Is For Pussies, and Main Street Vegan. #promo

My favorite podcast that often goes into depth on plant-based eating is the Rich Roll Podcast.

I’m sure there are many other amazing resources out there (please share if you have one you love) as when I googled “veganism” over 298,000,000 results came up!

I have written several articles about my LONG journey from vegetarianism to veganism, here are the most popular ones…

How My Hubby Kept Me From Being Vegan for Years

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/how-my-hubby-kept-me-from-being-vegan-for-years

Vegan…FINALLY!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/vegan-finally

3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-easy-ways-to-start-eating-vegan

My Favorite Vegan Meals

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/my-favorite-vegan-meals

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/tips-for-eating-vegan-on-the-road

If you are looking for recipes, I have thousands in my I HEART VEGAN RECIPES facebook group…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

And if you are ready to go 7 days vegan, I have a challenge group complete with 7 different meal plans to fit your lifestyle…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek

See you on the VEG side!

Transition to a Plant-Based Diet with Ease

Transition To A Plant Based Diet With EaseOver the past 2 weeks, I have had several people ask me for help transitioning to a vegan or vegan-ish diet. I do offer custom meal plans based on your likes, needs, time availability, and financial status, but not everyone wants to pay for a specific meal plan just yet.

For those of you just dabbling or want free resources, here is a list of articles I have written and other resources that will help you!

If you want a custom 7 or 30 day meal plan…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FitnessDivaKir

If you want to join The Veg Club (membership includes custom meals, new recipes weekly, constant communication with me, and a supportive community of like-minded, plant-based people…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheVegClub

Hundreds of vegan recipes…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

7 different 7 day vegan meal plans…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/tips-for-eating-vegan-on-the-road

5 Vegan Breakfasts in 5 Minutes or Less

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/5-vegan-breakfasts-in-5-minutes-or-less-2

Vegan…FINALLY!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/vegan-finally

3 Easy Ways to Start Eating Vegan

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-easy-ways-to-start-eating-vegan

Throw-Together Vegan Recipes

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/the-throw-together-vegan

My Favorite Vegan Meals

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/my-favorite-vegan-meals

How My Hubby Kept Me From Being Vegan for Years
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/how-my-hubby-kept-me-from-being-vegan-for-years

3 Easy Steps to Eating the Way You Want to Eat

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-easy-steps-to-eating-the-way-you-want-to-eat

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/where-do-you-get-your-protein

Progress not Perfection…PHEW!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/progress-not-perfectionphew

Weekly Easy Vegan Recipe…

http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

I hope these are helpful for you!!!

Reach out if you have any other questions along your journey toward a plant-based life.

See you SOON!

The Truth Behind My Weight Loss

The Truth Behind My Weight LossThis year I lost 10 pounds. I weigh the same as I did in Junior High. For the first time in over 30 years, I like the way I look and feel. In fact, other than a 6 month stupid Diet Mt Dew diet where I obviously didn’t lose weight in a healthy way, this is the lowest weight I have been at as an adult.

A lot of people think I lost the weight because I trained more or ate less than I have in the past, so I wanted to share how I really lost the weight.

Since turning 40, 4 years ago, I have made a lot of changes in my life. Starting in 2012 when I drastically cut down on dairy and gluten and had to give up a summer of racing after training for Ironman St. George and then breaking my collar bone 2 weeks before the race. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t use workouts to counteract my typically high caloric intake. I had to take a look at my portions and nutrients and make some changes.

This got me eating more fruits and veggies! Believe it or not, as a vegetarian and often vegan for the previous 32 years, I ate few fruits/veggies. Recovering from my collar bone break was also the first time I had to take a break from triathlon training and racing. I chose to take a break in 2008 and 2009, but this time it was not a choice. It fueled my determination to get back into it as soon as I was able!!

In 2013, I had my first amazing year of racing. I PRd my 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and half iron distance triathlon. I trained more than I had ever trained before (and more than I trained this year) and as a result, placed 3rd in my age group in Ironman Lake Tahoe and earned a spot to the Ironman World Championships in Kona. In 2013 I trained very heavily while eating very heavily, but much much healthier than I ever had before. I was about 75% vegan and ate a ton of fruits, veggies, and superfoods daily. I felt amazing!

2014 was the year I was racing in Kona. Leading up to the race, I PRd my half marathon, marathon, and twice half ironman distance. I didn’t train as much as in 2013, but still had high volume. I was about 80% vegan and was even eating about half of my meals raw. Definitely the healthiest I have eaten to this point. I had a great season culminating in being a part of the Ironman in Kona on October 11, 2014. That day, during the race, I decided when I was done I would take a full year off the bike. I needed a break!

With no biking on the schedule for a year, I decided to make this my swim/run year. I ended up running 15 marathons, one was a PR and a Boston Qualifier, and swam almost 1,000,000 yards, including an open water 10K. It was also the first year I was 100% vegan for the entire year. I felt amazing and healthy and was recovering more quickly than I ever imagined. My time running and swimming definitely made up for my lack of cycling, and the bike break worked because I was excited to get back on the bike once my year was up!

That brings me to 2016. I had an amazing race season with several PRs including over an hour off my best ironman time in Ironman Boulder. I haven’t done as much overall mileage as 2013, but still trained about 20 hours a week and racing at least once every single week. I ended up doing over 50 races in 2016 and although I was 100% vegan all year again, I still struggled with portions and have to remind myself daily to eat more fruits and veggies.

I’m recapping the past 4 years to show you it hasn’t been my training or eating that has helped me lose 10 pounds this year. Only ONE thing is different this year from the past 4, and that is my hormones. I have been on some form of hormonal birth control since I was 18 years old. That means for 25 years I have had hormones pumping through my body.

On January 1, 2016, I decided to stop taking birth control. Within 2 months I could tell a difference in my body, physically and emotionally. And within 4 months I knew that stopping the birth control was making a difference in my energy level, mood, and weight. I would never take any hormonal birth control again.

Every woman has to do what is right for her own body and situation, I just wanted to share that this is what works for me. If someone I trusted would have told me this sooner, I would have stopped sooner, and possibly had less struggles with my weight over the past 20 years!

And if I haven’t told you lately, I am grateful you are part of my life!

Stay in touch! www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/newsletter

See you soon!

Tips for Eating Vegan on the Road

Tips For Eating Vegan On The RoadI was asked by a friend for tips on eating vegan while on the road, so I thought I would share my tips in case there is anyone out there working toward or living a vegan lifestyle on the road.

This was one of the biggest challenges for me for years when I was “trying” to be a vegan. I spent 3 years traveling in an RV and before and after that, I typically travel at least once a month, sometimes for 2-3 weeks at a time, so I know it gets tricky.

HOWEVER, I will say that now that I am vegan, it isn’t as hard. I think I was using traveling and being on the road and always tired and anxious as excuses to eat the comfort foods that I wanted that were not vegan. I would stop at a tiny town gas station STARVING (of course) and the only option I found was a bag of nacho cheese Doritos 😉

Before you write me off as being judgy or unempathetic, I want to say it IS harder being vegan on the road, but I challenge you to take a close look at your life, habits, vices, etc before blaming travel on your inability to maintain your dietary goals. Like I said, now that I am fully vegan (not just “trying” to be vegan), it’s been much easier to find options on the road. In fact, in my scenario above, I could have grabbed potato chips, Fritos, or another vegan chip option if I wanted chips and wanted vegan!!

Here are 4 tips eating vegan on the road…

  1. Plan ahead. I pack most of my food with me if I can, if not, I check out dining options along the route. The internet makes this option super super easy!! There are also apps for vegan restaurants like Happy Cow. My hubby and I found a cute tiny raw food restaurant in the middle of a small town in Tennessee with that app.
  2. Read ingredients. If you are relying on a gas station or truck stop for meals/snacks, there are plenty of options. All you need to do is take a few minutes and read ingredients. Plenty of nuts, seeds, chips, even candy (while may not be the healthiest choice) are vegan.
  3. Fast Food. Every single fast food joint these days has vegan options. You may have to get creative with ordering, but you can find something if you find yourself in a hurry at the drive through window. You can also look in advance at the restaurant’s website. Most (and all big food chains) have a nutrition info link these days. At Taco Bell I get a bean burrito, fresco style, add rice. And there are Taco Bell’s and Subway’s pretty much everywhere these days!
  4. Have a back-up in case of emergency. Now most people wouldn’t consider not having food in your car an emergency, but if you have read more than one of my articles, we probably have a little in common, so you understand! If I am stuck with no good options and I am hungry and tired from traveling, I will 100% of the time make a poor decision. I found a plant-based protein drink that I love with just water, and I have packets of it and a shaker cup stored in my car. If I am caught without vegan food options and I am already hangry and cranky, I will get a bottle of cold water, mix in my shake, and that will tie me over for a couple hours until I can make a better decision.

I hope these help!

If you have specific questions, I would love to give you answers! You can always email me at coachsmith@usa.com

Or stay in touch through facebook at www.facebook.com/foodfitnessfinancefun

Or through my newsletter at www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/newsletter

See you soon!

Nutrition Challenge #7: Avoid Artificial Crap: Artificial Sweeteners

Nutrition Challenge - Avoid Artificial Crap: Artificial SweetenersI have an amazing community in a Facebook group who are positive, motivational, inspirational, supportive, and all striving to become a better version of themselves. I started the group 4 years ago and it is one of my favorites groups.

It’s a safe place to share struggles and triumphs and we always encourage every member to be open and honest. We also don’t judge or discriminate as we are all such different people.

Since health and weight loss are highly affected by nutrition, every week we run a nutrition challenge as a group. There are 8 challenges that run a total of 9 weeks. And then we repeat. The best thing about this process is that you can see progress from one challenge every 9 weeks. For example, one of the weeks is AVOID DAIRY. When I first started the group, I wanted to be dairy-free, but was still having it 2-3 times each week. Even though my goal was always 7 days dairy-free, I would still have it a few times a week.

After a few 9 week rounds, my dairy started going down to 1-2 times a week, and then to once a week. I eventually succeeded with my goal of 7 days without dairy!! Baby steps (of course) but in the end I accomplished what I set out to do. And as most of you know, I am now 100% dairy-free and have been since the beginning of the year.

Now if you don’t WANT to do all 7 days, you can set your OWN goal. For example, one of our weeks is AVOID SUGAR. I for sure want to cut down on sugar, but I like to have a treat now and then, and I love oatmeal with PB and Grade B Maple Syrup. So my goal is for sure to cut down, but not necessarily to cut it out. So I look at my week ahead and my activities and decide how many days I want to aim for. It’s usually 5.

I like to do the challenges from least to most difficult for most people so that we see some successes before the struggles set in.

Today we will talk about WEEK #7: AVOID ARTIFICIAL CRAP: Artificial Sweeteners

I like to group all artificial stuff into one challenge. CRAP=sweeteners, colors, flavors, etc. Basically anything artificial that is in our foods…which is WAY more than we think. In fact, there are many labels that read: natural and artificial flavors (colors, etc) so foods we think are all natural, actually have a mixture of natural AND artificial crap min them…BUMMER!!!

So this challenge is truly a challenge. Label reading is the key to getting this right.

There are so many artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors out there, I am going to divide this article into 3 parts…starting with artificial sweeteners.

With obesity on the rise, artificial sweeteners with no calories popped up everywhere. At the time, they seemed like a good idea until further research showed the side effects weren’t worth it. These fake sweeteners cause symptoms that range from headaches and migraines to weight gain and even more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What many people don’t realize is that artificial sweeteners also can cause a dangerous addiction, an addiction to overly sweet foods. They retrain the taste buds to need more and more, sweeter and sweeter foods. This leads to even greater incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney damage, and more.

Here is a list of artificial sweeteners. Bring this list with you while learning to read labels. If even small amounts of these sweeteners are in your foods, I would avoid them all together.

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Alitame
  • Cyclamate
  • Dulcin
  • Equal
  • Glucin
  • Kaltame
  • Mogrosides
  • Neotame
  • NutraSweet
  • Nutrinova
  • Phenlalanine
  • Saccharin
  • Splenda
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Twinsweet
  • Sweet ‘N Low
  • Xylitol

Here is a list of products where artificial sweeteners are typically found that you may not know about…

  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Children’s chewable vitamins
  • Cough syrup and liquid medicines
  • Chewing gum
  • No-calorie waters and drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Salad dressings
  • Frozen yogurt and other frozen deserts
  • Candies
  • Baked goods
  • Yogurt
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Processed snack foods
  • “Lite” or diet fruit juices and beverages
  • Prepared meats
  • Nicotine gum

Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, I gave up artificial sweeteners. The hardest part for me was gum. I was a HUGE gum chewer and almost all gums (even ones with sugar) have artificial sweeteners in them.

So practice reading labels until you are confident you understand all the different artificial sweeteners that are lurking in your foods. An easy trick is to eat whole, real foods like fruit, veggies, and grains. Then you don’t have to read labels!! If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, your body PROBABLY won’t like it!

Here is an article I like on sweeteners…

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25390/the-best-worst-sweeteners-a-health-coach-explains.html

And here are some comments from participants…

“I didn’t realize I was eating so much crap until I started reading labels. Thanks for making me aware of this!”

-Kayla

“I can’t believe there are artificial sweeteners in toothpaste. I’m so glad I did this challenge so that I can make smarter choices for my entire family.”

-Kara

Here are deets on the Avoiding Artificial Crap challenge…

And join us for info, articles, support, accountability, and education here…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RealResultsROCK/

And put down diet coke and sugar-free candy STAT!!!

See you SOON!

Baby Steps: How To Be Gentle To Yourself During Recovery

Baby Steps: How To Be Nice To Yourself During RecoveryLast night I ran a race that was founded by a therapist I had for years who changed my life. She died a few years ago, but the race still lives on. I hadn’t done this race since 2005, but decided at the last minute to do it. Two of the other women I worked with in the recovery center were at the race last night as well.

It was great seeing, catching up, and running with them, and it got me thinking about the journey I have been on for the past 20 years and how much I have learned about how to take care of myself over the past 10 years.

10 years ago, I did not feel confident in my future. I remember sitting in group therapy with 6-8 other girls who were mostly 10-15 years younger than me. I felt like I was the oldest person ever to still have eating and body image issues. I couldn’t imagine a day where I would actually forget to weigh myself or forgive myself for over-eating.

But with all things in my life, baby steps eventually turn me around. And now, years later, I can see a bright future for myself.

I think of recovery as “being gentle with myself after being hard on myself”. This works with all forms of recovery: physical, emotional, abuse, etc. When I do a 20 mile run, I am being hard on my body. I take an ice bath, eat a nutrient dense meal, and run easy or walk the next day. When I eat an entire bag of Newman Os in the afternoon, I forgive myself and eat a giant salad for dinner.

If I have spent years abusing food, alcohol, or myself, I spend years making up for it by taking care of my emotional needs in ways that nourish me. This makes sense to me now, but that wasn’t always the case.

In the past if I over-ate (this is hard on my body), I would under-eat the next meal, day, week (this is STILL hard on my body). In the past if I messed up in my life (this is hard on myself), I would berate and belittle myself (this is ALSO hard on myself). But this used to make sense to me. I couldn’t imagine a day when I was sore so I would take a day off or if I slept through my alarm I could tell myself “you must have needed the sleep”.

Now that I am more open about my past issues, others are more open with me, and I see so many people do what I used to do with themselves day in and day out. It pains me as I can’t imagine still feeling the hopelessness I felt for the better part of my life.

Here is something to think about next time you eat too much or drink too much or work too much or are tired or sore or hurt or abusive to yourself or someone else…

If you broke your foot (hard on yourself), would you jump up and down and shake it all around to heal it (STILL hard on yourself) or would you rest it and elevate it and stay off it to heal it (gentle on yourself)?

When it’s something that obvious, it is so easy to see how silly we are to think it’s a good idea to treat ourselves poorly. But we do!

I remember one of the exercises I learned in therapy is when I binged, to talk to myself like I would talk to my 4 year old daughter after she just binged. After a good cry (since I can’t imagine talking to an innocent, precious blonde-haired, blue-eyed child born from my own body the way I talk to myself), I couldn’t do it. Not even to my imaginary daughter.

Instead, I would tell her she was OK, that she would get through it, and that in the grand scheme of life, a pan of brownies ins’t going to make or break her. I may even give her a high-five for being so ambitious! And then we would talk about what was going on to make her want to eat that much at once and the steps we can take in the future so that we do more things that help us instead of hurt us.

Please consider this next time you “screw up” as I promise you (and me) there will be many more to come.

Love yourself more!

If you need a reminder…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/LoveYourselfMore
If you want to connect…

https://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/newsletter

And hang with me at…

https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

See you soon!

Here are the CLEANSES I approve of…

Here Are Cleanses I Approve OfI get a LOT of questions about cleanses. I have done a countless number of cleanses, both healthy and unhealthy, throughout my lifetime. With most cleanses, you will get a result as usually you are cutting calories or cutting processed foods. But all cleanses are not created equal.

In my younger years, I didn’t care if a cleanse was healthy or not, or whether the results were short or long term, I just wanted to see results. As I got older, and wiser, I realized that without healthy, long term results, there is no point in putting that much stress on my body, not to mention going through the challenge of most cleanses.

Here are the cleanses I currently approve of. I have also rated them on a scale from 1-10 on “difficulty”.

This is my opinion on how difficult I think they are to maintain. Please reach out with any questions about any of these cleanses!

Smoothies

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/3-reasons- i-love- my-30- day-smoothie- challenge

3 Day Refresh

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/3day

Juicing

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/my-juicing- days

Ultimate Reset

http://www.myultimatereset.com/realresultsrock

Master Cleanse

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/what-i-learned-about-my-relationship-with-food-during-the-master-cleanse/

Join our monthly cleanse group for support on any of these cleanses…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MonthlyMiniCleanse/

See you soon!

Nutrition Challenge #7: Avoid Artificial Crap: Artificial Colors

Nutrition Challenge #7: Avoid Artificial Crap: Artificial ColorsI have an amazing community in a Facebook group who are positive, motivational, inspirational, supportive, and all striving to become a better version of themselves. I started the group 4 years ago and it is one of my favorites groups.

It’s a safe place to share struggles and triumphs and we always encourage every member to be open and honest. We also don’t judge or discriminate as we are all such different people.

Since health and weight loss are highly affected by nutrition, every week we run a nutrition challenge as a group. There are 8 challenges that run a total of 9 weeks. And then we repeat. The best thing about this process is that you can see progress from one challenge every 9 weeks. For example, one of the weeks is AVOID DAIRY. When I first started the group, I wanted to be dairy-free, but was still having it 2-3 times each week. Even though my goal was always 7 days dairy-free, I would still have it a few times a week.

After a few 9 week rounds, my dairy started going down to 1-2 times a week, and then to once a week. I eventually succeeded with my goal of 7 days without dairy!! Baby steps (of course) but in the end I accomplished what I set out to do. And as most of you know, I am now 100% dairy-free and have been since 2015.

Now if you don’t WANT to do all 7 days, you can set your OWN goal. For example, one of our weeks is AVOID SUGAR. I for sure want to cut down on sugar, but I like to have a treat now and then, and I love oatmeal with PB and Grade B Maple Syrup. So my goal is for sure to cut down, but not necessarily to cut it out. So I look at my week ahead and my activities and decide how many days I want to aim for. It’s usually 5.

I like to do the challenges from least to most difficult for most people so that we see some successes before the struggles set in.

Today we will talk about WEEK #7: AVOID ARTIFICIAL CRAP: Artificial Colors

I like to group all artificial stuff into one challenge. CRAP=sweeteners, colors, flavors, etc. Basically anything artificial that is in our foods…which is WAY more than we think. In fact, there are many labels that read: natural and artificial flavors (colors, etc) so foods we think are all natural, actually have a mixture of natural AND artificial crap in them…BUMMER!!!

So this challenge is truly a challenge. Label reading is the key to getting this right.

There are so many artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors out there, I am going to divide this article into 3 parts…finally artificial colors.

It’s insane that most other countries outlaw most artificial colors in food, while the US still allows TEN in our foods. And many of the companies are making the same food products for all countries and have to change the ingredients for those other countries so it’s crazy that they just don’t change them for us too!

Here are the dyes still allowed in the US and where they are often found so you can look out for them and take control of what you put into your own and your children’s bodies…

Blue No. 1: Often found in frosting, ice cream, packaged soup mixes, and products with blue-raspberry flavors

Blue No. 2: Often found in candy, cereal, ice cream

Citrus Red No. 2: Allowed for use only in coloring the skins of oranges

Green No. 3: Often found in canned peas, mint jelly, sauces, mixes for baked goods

Orange B: Allowed for use only in frankfurter and sausage casings

Red No. 3: Banned in the United States for topical use. Often found in Popsicles, cake-decorating gels, candy, chewing gum

Red No. 40: Often found in soft drinks, sports drinks, cocktail mixers, fruit snacks, yogurt, breakfast cereals, lasagna, jam, candy, hot dogs, beef jerky, salad dressings, chips, pizza

Yellow No. 5: Often found in ice cream, Popsicles, hard candy, pudding, Jell-O, cake mixes, soft drinks, sports drinks, chips, gum, jam, mustard, cereal, boxed rice dinners, noodles

Yellow No. 6: Often found in orange soda, jam, lemon curd, packaged soup mixes, chips, ice cream, noodles

Caramel coloring: People around the world consume more caramel coloring than any other food-coloring ingredient. Although the word “caramel” seems innocent enough, there are actually four types of the coloring, two of which are created by using ammonia. The coloring used in some sodas, for example, is made by reacting ammonium and sulfite compounds with sugars, which produces 4-Methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, shown to cause cancer in mice and rats. Caramel coloring has also been linked to high blood pressure.

Here is an article I like on artificial dyes…

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2012/08/27/living-in-color-the-potential-dangers-of-artificial-dyes/#4dc8ba813213

 

And here are some comments from participants…

“I didn’t realize I was eating so much crap until I started reading labels. Thanks for making me aware of this!”

-Kayla

“I feel so much better about my overall health and wellness now that I have removed most artificial coloring from my diet.”

-Jennifer

Here are deets on the avoiding artificial crap challenge…

And join us for info, articles, support, accountability, and education here…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RealResultsROCK/

And make sure you READ YOUR LABLES!

See you SOON!