Reading Food Labels

You may think what you are eating is healthy but do you actually read the food label to know what it is you are actually consuming? Don’t get tricked in to thinking something is healthy just because it says “Organic”, “All Natural”, “Healthy”, “Gluten Free”, “Fat Free” or “Vegan”. Those are just marketing ploys to make consumers think that they are healthy. For example, look at the picture below. The company markets this product as “Gluten Free”, “Fat Free” and “No Artificial Color.” Must be healthy, right?

marshmellows.jpg

My general rule of thumb when reading a label is if I don’t know what an ingredient is, I don’t buy it. The main ingredient I am always very cautious about, especially when buying food for our son, is sugar. Have you ever noticed that there is added sugar in EVERYTHING processed!! It amazes me! Pasta sauce, salad dressing, cereal, bread, teething bars and the list goes on and on and on. Going back to the picture above, take a look at this products ingredients. Do you know what any of them are? And if you do, does that sounds like a healthy, nutrient dense product?

marshmellow%2Bingredients.jpg

So how can you tell if there is added sugar in your processed food? Sometimes it is not as simple as the label just reading “sugar.” Companies are good at sneaking sugar in under names that some people wouldn’t think would be sugar. Ingredients that end in the word “ose” are sugar. Common names for sugar that many companies use are :

  • Glucose

  • Fructose

  • Molasses

  • Syrup (Corn, Maple, Date, Golden, Carob, Brown rice etc.)

  • Barley Malt

  • Dextrose

  • Evaporated Cane Juice

  • Fruit Juice Concentrate

  • Honey

  • Agave

  • Buttered sugar/ buttercream

To sum this up for you, when reading labels make sure that you know what the ingredients are before just buying something that states that it is “healthy” on the package.

If you ever have any questions on an ingredient, a food item or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a wonderful week!

XO

Lisa Catherine

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com

LisaCatherineCoaching@gmail.com

12 Steps to a Healthier You

There is not one magic pill to make someone healthy. We live in a society where we expect everything to be instantaneous. Unfortunately, those instantaneous miracles don't last most of the time. For example, when it comes to weight, how long did it take you to put on that weight? For most people, it took years. Why do we expect to lose that weight in a week or even a month? And even if you do, do you think that is healthy? Do you think it will last? I don't want to sound like a Debby Downer, I am just being realistic. Diets don't work. They may for a brief moment, but diets aren't a lifestyle. In order to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change your lifestyle and, unfortunately, it may take a few years. I know our society doesn't like to hear that but wouldn't you rather spend a couple years changing your life, losing weight and KEEPING IT OFF rather than losing a crazy amount of weight in a month and gaining it back (sometimes even gaining more weight) a few months later?

If you are ready to make a lifestyle change, here are a few tips to get you started:

Drink more water

Many people mistake hunger for thirst. Make sure that you are drinking water consistently throughout the day. The amount of water you drink depends on how active you are. I recommend AT LEAST 8 - 8oz glasses of water a day. This will depend on the person though. I typically drink about 75oz per day. 

Helpful tips: Set a timer every hour to drink one 8oz glass of water. Or buy a large water bottle (mine is 24oz) and make to fill about 3 times a day. 

Practice cooking

Eating out is a nice treat once in a while; however, cooking at home is a simple step to start a healthier lifestyle. Restaurant meals are typically very large portions and contain a lot of salt. You don't always know exactly what ingredients are in these meals. Home cooking can be very simple and you can get all of your nutrients in.

Helpful tip: Plan ahead. On Sunday I make a list of 2 different dishes I can cook for each meal during the week. I make a very specific grocery list and go shopping. The meals that I make are very simple (takes no longer than 30 mins) but very nutritious. Pack your lunch and prep a breakfast the night before. We all have busy lives. If you are tight on time in the morning, prep your breakfast and lunch the night before. A great breakfast to prep is overnight oats. 

Experiment with whole grains

How many people reading this have cut out carbs in their diet? The #1 diet and theory that is popular right now is that carbs are evil and are the culprit for all weight gain. That is all a bunch of garbage. ALL carbs do not contribute to weight gain. Look at the thin, delicate bodies of Japanese people, who consume high-carbohydrate diets composed of large amounts of rice and starchy vegetables. Whole grains have been a staple in the human diet for centuries. People gain weight because they eat artificial junk food and SUGAR.

I challenge you to experiment with healthy, whole grain carbohydrates. If you are having sugar cravings, eating whole grains may help. Some examples of whole grains are rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, oats.

Increase sweet vegetables

Instead of reaching for those cookies or candy, try incorporating more sweet vegetables into your diet. Some examples of these are corn, carrots, onions, betters, winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, cabbage. 

Increase leafy green vegetables

Some benefits of eating leafy greens are:

  • blood purification
  • cancer prevention
  • improved circulation
  • immune strengthening
  • subtle, light and flexible energy
  • lifted spirit, elimination of depression
  • promotion of healthy intestinal flora
  • improved liver, gallbladder and kidney function
  • clearing of congestion, especially in lungs, and reduction of mucus

Some examples of leafy greens are broccoli, boo chop, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, and broccoli rabe.

Experiment with protein

Protein is the basic building block of the human structure, but because every body is different, protein requirements vary from person to person. For example, I was vegan for a few years and was living very well off of just plant protein. However, once I started strength training, my body needed more protein and I found myself craving animal protein. I do eat animal protein now, however, I cannot eat too much red meat. My body doesn't digest it as well as chicken, eggs or turkey.

My advice is to experiment with different types of protein, as well as, the amount. Our society tends to eat way more protein than most of our bodies need. A good way of keeping track of your food intake is to keep a food journal. I have been doing this for years and it has helped me understand what foods I can eat an abundance of, which foods I can indulge in once in a while and which foods I need to avoid. I just take note of what I eat for each meal and how I feel afterward and jot it down in my journal. You can use a notebook or purchase a food journal online. I bought mine off of amazon.

Eat less sugar and chemicalized, artificial junk foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco

I could go on and on about this topic but I will keep it short and sweet since I am sure that most people know these items are not good for your body. Everyone loves sugar. Why? Because it is addictive. Eating even a small amount of it creates a desire for more. Those that eat a ton of sugar may have tried to quit. Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings and fatigue. Sugar is just as addictive as coffee, alcohol and tobacco. These all are forms of drugs.  Consuming too much (or even any at all) of these products could cause serious harm to your body in the future. 

Develop easy and reliable habits to nurture your body

A few examples of habits to nurture your body:

1. Meditation

2. Drink hot water with lemon first thing in the morning

3. Take a bath with lavender epsom salt

Have healthy relationships that support you

In order to find healthy relationships, you must find ways to love and nurture yourself first. If you don't know yourself and/or don't love yourself, you cannot maintain any healthy relationships, whether it be  friendship or love. Figure out who you are and what you need in a relationship. Once you do that, you will be able to have and maintain healthy friendships and love. 

Find physical activity you enjoy and do it regularly

Healthy exercise is just as important as eating healthy. Your body is made to move. Find something that YOU ENJOY doing. I can't tell you how many people I meet that say that they run because they feel like they need to but they don't enjoy it. Well than don't do it! There are plenty of different physical activities out there. I am sure you are bound to find one thing that you like.

Here are some examples

  • running/ walking
  • weight lifting
  • a sport (soccer, football, tennis, ultimate frisbee)
  • swim
  • rock climb

Find work you love or a way to love the work you have

This is the hardest topic to discuss with people because, unfortunately, the majority of people I speak to don't like their jobs. They feel trapped in a dead end, unhappy job but can't leave because they need the money for either their family, school or just life in general. 

The first question I ask is can you leave your job? If you are really unhappy with it, start applying to different companies. If you cannot leave your job for some reason, than make the most out of it. Instead of going to work every day unhappy, find love in the work that you have.

  • Identify people at work that could be allies and avoid those people that irritate you.
  • Spruce up your office.
  • Address the issues that may be bothering you at work with your manager.
  • Go to work with one thing in mind that you are excited to accomplish that day, instead of dreading the entire day ahead.

Develop a spiritual practice

This may mean different things to different people. For some, this may mean following their religion that they were brought up with. This could be a form of prayer or meditation. For those that do not believe in a god, this may mean going for a walk or looking up at the stars to appreciate the worlds beauty. 

 

 

I hope these 12 steps have helped in your journey to a healthier and happier you!

 

Lisa Catherine Kenny

Lisa@Lisacatherinecoaching.com

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com

 

 

Content from this blog was inspired by the book Integrative Nutrition written by Joshua Rosenthal, the founder and director of the Institute For Integrative Nutrition.

7 Healthy On The Go Snacks

Since we have moved into the boondocks, I find myself trying to run all my errands at once. This means that I am gone for the majority of the day. I love going out for a nice meal occasionally, but I hate ALWAYS eating out. It is expensive and I prefer to make my own food. So while I am on the go, I pack a goodie bag of healthy snacks (sometimes even a meal if I am gone most of the day). 

If you are like me and feel like you are on the go the majority of the day, here are a list of some simple, healthy snacks to take with you.

1. Ants on a log - I used to eat these all the time as a kid. It was one of my favorite snacks. Chop up some celery, add peanut butter or almond butter and top it with raisins or almonds. 

2. Mixed Nut Trail Mix - I typically will buy just mixed nuts or I will buy mixed nuts with raisins.

3. Protein Shake - In our house we use Vega Protein or Swiig. I use water (my husband uses almond milk), add one scoop protein, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 avocado, a handful of spinach (you can't taste it, I promise), blend it up. I, also, will add flax or chia seeds and sometimes some Maca powder if I am feeling a little tired that day. 

4. Kind Bar, Larabar or Cliff Bar - Try to find an energy bar or protein bar with no artificial sweeteners in it. Find a bar where you know all the ingredients listed on the table. Better yet, make your own energy bar.

You can make your own bars (or energy balls) by adding your favorite ingredients to a food processor. I use oats, dates (sometimes prunes), organic unsweetened peanut butter, flax, cinnamon, coconut oil. I process it and than add any toppings such as, coconut, dark chocolate chips, raisins etc. Mix with a spoon (or hands) and than mold into energy bars. Place them on a cookie sheet with wax paper. Place in refrigerator and than enjoy!

5. Hummus and veggies

6. Greek Yogurt - I always buy unsweetened yogurt and add fruit to it. 

7. Hardboiled Egg

 

I hope this has helped! If you would like any more advice or help with how to prepare any of these snacks, please feel free to contact me.

Have a great week!

 

Lisa Catherine Kenny

Lisa@LisaCatherineCoaching.com

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com

Are Smoothies Good For You?

Yes, smoothies can be very good for you if f you make it yourself or go to a smoothie bar where you know exactly what is in it. Many stores will add ingredients with a ton of sugar, such as ice cream or syrups. If made correctly, smoothies can be a fantastic meal replacement or snack. I try to have a smoothie once a day and, typically, for breakfast. Why? Well here are a few reasons why smoothies are so good for you:

1. Fruits and Veggies

Its amazing how many people do not get the recommended fruits and vegetables in. Smoothies are a great way to get some healthy fruits and vegetables in your diet. I always add one serving of fruit and at least one serving of vegetables in my smoothie. Make sure not to overdue it on the fruit since fruit does contain sugar, natural but still sugar. 

2. Healthy Fat

People seem to be afraid of the word "fat" nowadays but the truth is that your body needs healthy fat to function. Incorporating healthy fats into your smoothie is a great way to start off your morning. Your body will love you for it. I add 1/4 of an avocado to my daily smoothies and sometimes a scoop of almond butter (no added sugar).

3. Simple & Quick

For those that are constantly on the run and don't ever have time for breakfast, smoothies are an easy and quick meal to make for on the go. You can prep the night before and than throw it on the blender in the morning. I can't tell you how many people I talk to that just don't eat breakfast in the morning. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body has been resting all night without food so it would only make sense that it needs food in the morning in order to function at it's highest capability. Make sure to eat breakfast. Smoothies are fantastic, on the go, healthy meals.

4. Digestion

Adding ingredients into your smoothie that can aid in digestion are fantastic. Some examples of this are kefir, apple cider vinegar, avocados, cucumbers, peppermint, ginger, lemon, and fennel.

5. Energy

By fueling your body with healthy food and nutrients, you will have a ton of energy to go about your busy day.

 

Here are a couple of my smoothie recipes that I use quite often.

 

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie

1 Cup Almond Milk (unsweetened), Coconut Milk (unsweetened) or Water

1 Cup Blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1/4 -1/2 Avocado 

Spinach

1-2 Tbsp Almond Butter

Optional: Protein, flax, chia 

If you didn't use frozen blueberries, add a few ice cubes and than blend until smooth

 

The Green Monster Smoothie

1 Cup Almond Milk (unsweetened), Coconut Milk (unsweetened) or Water

1 Banana (frozen or fresh)

1 - 2 Tbsp Almond Butter (or any nut butter)

Spinach

Optional: Protein, flax, chia 

If you didn't use a frozen banana, add a few ice cubes and than blend until smooth

 

 

Have a great weekend! Stay healthy:)

 

XOXO 

Lisa Catherine

Lisa@LisaCatherineCoaching.com

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com

Coconut Oil vs Cream & Sugar

Who here loves coffee?? 

If you are like me and you said OF COURSE I LOVE COFFEE, than read on. 

If you said no, keep reading because you may find that you will enjoy coffee after you try this recipe. 

If you drink your coffee black, good for you. However, the majority of people I know like their cream and sugar with a splash of coffee. Who wouldn't?? Everyone likes stuff with sugar in it. It's addicting. It is the worlds worst drug  (my own opinion). That is why I am ridding it from my diet once and for all. 

But sugar is a WHOLE different topic for another time. The real topic today is coconut oil. Yes..coconut oil. I have always loved coconut oil for cooking but I recently found a new love in adding coconut oil to my coffee. I am sure many of you have heard of the Bulletproof coffee and maybe even heard of just adding coconut oil in your coffee but I am here to tell you that it is delicious! It is a healthy alternative to the cream and sugar that you may add every day. Coconut oil is PACKED with health benefits! But you may be wondering why should I add it to my coffee. Here are just a few reasons why: 

  1. It is delicious! Coconut oil gives your coffee the same creaminess and sweetness as adding milk and sugar do (I think its event tastier).
  2. It's like drinking a double expresso. You will get the energy from the caffeine in the coffee, but did you know that coconut oil gives you energy too?? Coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. MCTs are absorbed and metabolized by the body quickly meaning you will get energy quickly, giving you a little more of a morning boost.
  3. It's Good For Your Brain. Your brain needs dietary fat. At least 60% of your brain is composed of fat! 
  4. Improves Your Metabolism & Aids in Weight Loss. Many studies have proven that the MCTs in coconut oil metabolize differently than long chain fats. In one study, rats were overfed with either long chain or medium chain fats. The rats fed the medium chain fats gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat (source).
  5. A healthier and happier you. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which contains antiviral and antibacterial super powers (non-coincidentally, lauric acid is, also, found in breast milk).
  6. It is an easy way to add some healthy fat into your daily diet.

So without further ado, here is my coconut oil coffee concoction.

1. Make a pot of organic coffee

2. pour into a blender and add 1-2 tsp of coconut oil

3. Blend, Pour & ENJOY! (You can add a few drops of vanilla or stevia)

 

XOXO 

Lisa Catherine

Lisa@LisaCatherineCoaching.com

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com