Protein Rich Foods

Why is it important to eat protein?
It is important for everyone to eat protein. You can follow a vegan, vegetarian or even a paleo diet and you still need to be sure that you are getting adequate amounts of protein each day.  Protein helps your body feel fuller for longer because it helps fiber break down more slowly.  Protein is in every cell in your body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissue and it is an important building block of bones, cartilage, skin, blood and muscles.

How much protein should I eat?
Ideally you want to have protein with every meal and snack. A balanced meal has a combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Different people need different amounts of proteins, healthy fats, and fibers. Listen to your body. If you are feeling full and satisfied after you eat then you are probably getting enough of each. If you are still hungry 20 minutes after you ate, your meal might not have enough of one of the components. 
Hummus with raw veggies is a great snack.  The chickpeas offer protein, the olive oil is a healthy fat, and the veggies have lots of fiber.
Here is a simple homemade hummus recipe:

Foods that are good sources of protein:
We are asked often about clean and healthy sources of protein. Both animal and vegan. Here are a few ideas for you-
meats:  organic chicken, seafood, grass fed bison or beef, organic eggs
dairy:  (organic or hormone free) yogurt that has no added sugar, organic or raw cheese
nuts and nut butters:  almonds, walnuts, cashew
seeds:  chia, hemp, pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower, poppy
beans:  chick peas, black beans, kidney beans
grains:  quinoa, brown rice
vegetables:  green peas, broccoli, kale, spinach, mushrooms, sweet potato, asparagus

Why is it so hard to reduce sugar in my diet?


Foods with sugar taste so delicious, don’t they? And, sugar is associated with good times.  We eat cake at birthday parties, make cookies at Christmas, and love the sound of the ice cream truck.
I, Wyndie, have personally struggled with a sugar addiction for most of my life. I feel like my body was grown on sugar! And grow I did. I was about 50 pounds over-weight by my late childhood and stayed that way until I was an adult. See I grew up eating cookies, pastries, fruit rollups and more. And I ate way more than a serving every time. I would get the sugar rush and then the drop so I’d crave more. It was a cycle. But I can tell you that as an adult I did not want to live with the consequences of eating too much sugar. I didn’t want diabetes or an autoimmune disease or weak teeth. I wanted to be healthy, active and available for my family. The only way for me was to go cold turkey. I had to detox from it. After about 10 days I really didn’t crave it anymore. But that’s not for everyone. What we know is that the best thing that you can do for your health is to do something! If you are eating too much sugar then why not change one area of your food at a time? Set a goal that is manageable. Take note of how you feel before you try to reduce your sugar and then take note everyday how you are feeling with less.  That feeling will motivate you to keep going. And then you will crave it less and less. I am able to enjoy sugar every now and then but honestly I don’t really like the way it makes me feel. It wasn’t the easiest thing to work on but wow is it worth it!
What does sugar do to your body?
We know that in moderation, sugary foods, made with natural less processed sugars are okay.  But why can’t we say no to or set a boundary around all of the processed sweet stuff? Here’s why: When you eat too much sugar your body actually starts craving the sugar. This happens because dopamine, a hormone in your brain that makes you feel happy, is released when you eat sugar. Therefore you literally feel happy when you eat sugar.  Our bodies really like this feeling and begin to crave the sugar that makes us feel so good.  Because of this sugar is addictive. It is actually as addictive as cocaine.
Although there are some natural sugars that are better for you than others, your body still identifies all sugars the same way. It looks at high fructose corn syrup the same as organic maple syrup.  Your body metabolizes sugar differently than other foods, so sugar has a different effect on the body.  Most foods are metabolized by all cells in the body.  But sugar is metabolized mostly by the liver. With too much sugar intake, the liver becomes overloaded and turns the sugar directly into fat. This fat turns into cholesterol, increases your insulin, and increases your chances for disease. 
So what do we do about sugar? 
First of all take out all artificial sweeteners from your diet.  These are ingredients such as aspartame and saccharin and sucralose. Try to totally avoid artificial sweeteners. There is nothing good about them. Second, choose less refined sugars like honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar over more processed sugars.  But only eat these in moderation! The World Health Organization recommends eating less than 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar a day.  Third, read the labels and don’t buy foods with unnecessary added sugar. 
You do not have to cut out sugar cold turkey.  Start with one goal – less sugar in your coffee, or dessert only 3 days a week.  Your taste buds will start to change if you stick with it and you will not crave sugar so much. Replace the sugary taste with seasonings such as vanilla, almond, or combine ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. 
Don’t be too hard on yourself!  Reducing sugar is extremely important for your health but it is also ok to eat some sugar in moderation.  Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time eat healthy and 20% of the time splurge a little.

How Does Being Healthy Feel?

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How I Used to Feel
I used to struggle to make it through the day.  I had a really hard time getting out of bed. It was like I just couldn’t get my thoughts going and my body felt very heavy and slow.  My blood sugar was not balanced, and I had to eat at least every 2 hours or I felt like I was going to pass out. After I would eat my stomach would hurt and I would feel extra tired. But really I was just exhausted all day. I became stressed very easily.  If I forgot something from the store or got a flat tire the process to figure out how to fix that problem was exhausting.  I was red and itchy all over. I got headaches that lasted for days and Advil no longer worked to reduce the pain. Do you ever feel this way?
How I Feel Now
Now I usually wake up before my alarm goes off and get right out of bed ready to start my day.  My blood sugar is now under control, I can go for hours without needing food, and usually eat 3 meals a day and no snacks. I no longer have any pain from stomachaches or headaches! It also seems easier to find a solution when a problem occurs because my brain is much clearer and focused. My skin no longer has a red undertone and the itchiness is gone. The best difference between how I used to feel and now is how much energy I now have. I get tasks around the house, like laundry, done much more quickly because I have so much more energy.
How I Changed Things to Feel Better
I changed what I was eating and worked on healing my gut.  I figured out a healthy and clean diet that works with my body.  We will be sharing more details on this a little later.
How Should a Healthy Day Feel For Most People?
Everyone's version of a "healthy day" can feel a little different. But iIdeally when you are truly healthy, you should wake up in the morning with energy. This energy should last throughout the day. You then begin to wind down starting in the evening. You should sleep well, without waking up, unless you have a little person at home! You generally should not be in pain. Headaches happen sometimes, but it is not good if they are occurring too frequently. Your brain should be clear and focused and should easily solve small problems. Your blood sugar should be stable enough for you to go several hours without needing food.
I think a lot of us get so used to having symptoms that we don’t even realize how a healthy day can feel. These symptoms are your body telling you that something is out of balance.


Guest post: Vivian Selles, Registered Yoga Teacher

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                                       picture courtesy of Joshua Thomas Pugh of Studio 601

When I was a child, I worried a lot. Going back to school after the summer vacation created so much anxiety in me! The night before school started, I couldn’t fall asleep; I was so nervous about what the unknown would bring. That anxious feeling before school started followed me into college and into my adult life – that feeling of butterflies in my stomach at the end of my vacation, nervous about what was awaiting me when I returned to work.

When I started practicing yoga, I found that it helped me to relieve my anxiety. Through the syncing of movement and breath, and meditation, it alleviated that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. After teacher training, I started teaching. First, Wyndie gave me a tremendous opportunity by inviting me to teach to her children and some of the neighborhood kids. The girls loved it! This gave me the confidence to begin teaching through a local non-profit, Yoga*Art*Teens ( Through my first 10-week session at a local middle school, I saw a profound impact on the students who participated:

The kids reported feeling less anxious when taking tests and were able to concentrate better in class.
They gained confidence and were open to trying new things; they saw this in their school work and building personal relationships with new friends in school and other extra-curricular activities
Through yoga, the kids learned a different form of exercise, built strength and flexibility, and improved their balance and hand/eye coordination
They learned mindfulness and compassion for themselves, and were able to extend this to others with ease
Yoga is wonderful for kids who are or aren’t athletic! Some kids may not be into group sports, and yoga provides them with an alternative. One of my favorite things about yoga is it is never a competition; we are all on our own journey through this amazing life, and we never compare ourselves to one another. I tell my Yoga*Art*Teens that we practice yoga like we practice for the big championship game, except there’s nothing to win. You can’t beat yoga; it is something that teaches you more about yourself than anyone could ever teach you.

Yoga is something that truly saved me, and I only wish I had started when I was younger!

To connect with Vivian go to: 

Eating Healthy While on Vacation

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My trip to Lake Powell.
My family took a trip out to Lake Powell last summer.  We flew across county into Utah, rented a car and drove down to Arizona, and then stayed on a house boat for a week.  I have had to be very careful about the foods that I eat so I was a little nervous about such a long trip. 
I called TSA before the trip. (Make sure you call yourself before your trip in case any of the rules have changed.) You are allowed to take foods on the plane, as long as they are not too liquidy. They would not let me take almond butter. You can take a cooler on a plane, you just can’t take the ice through the security check point.  So I brought empty baggies. Once I got through security, I went to a restaurant and got ice to put in the baggies. 
Before leaving for the trip I looked into grocery stores in Utah.  Luckily there were several Whole Foods along our path from the airport to Lake Powell.
I also checked into the supplies that were available on the house boat before we left for the trip.  I needed to make sure I would have the proper pots and pans, etc to be able to cook on the boat.
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Vacationing when you have food allergies/sensitivities
It can be hard to figure out what to eat at home when you have food allergies/sensitivities.  So it can be even more difficult when you are in an unfamiliar location.  But with a little planning and preparation, you can have an enjoyable vacation, even if you have food allergies/sensitivities.
Do some research before your trip on where you are staying and local restaurants.
1. Look into the hotel, house, ect where you will be staying.Find one with a kitchen or at least a mini fridge.Find a spot that is close to a grocery store that you are familiar with and know.
2. Look into restaurants ahead of time.Look up the menu. Many restaurants now have allergy friendly menus posted online.
Organize your food ahead of time. 
1. Buy or make foods ahead of time to bring on the trip.Think about how many days you are going to be on vacation.
2. Make sure you have a quick snack on you, maybe a LARA bar or almonds. 

Which Sunscreen Should I Buy?

Summer is here...
and although getting a small daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun is okay, it is important to protect your skin from the long term damaging effects of too much sun. You should definitely apply a sunscreen if you plan to be outside. Deciding which sunscreen to use can be confusing!?
So here are some tips about SPF, ingredients, and what to look for when choosing a sunscreen:

1. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. They also recommend using an SPF of 30 or greater with water resistance.

2. Look for mineral based ingredients that do not penetrate the skin like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The label may even say "non-nano".

3. AVOID sunscreens that contain oxybenzone which is a hormone disrupting chemical.

4. Brands we like are Badger, Honest Company, Think Sport, California Baby, Raw Elements, Beauty Counter and Sunology.

5. Go to the Environmental Working Group to see the safety rating of your sunscreen or any product that you use!

How to Figure Out What Dairy to Buy

How to figure out what dairy to buy                    

It can be very overwhelming and confusing when you are trying to figure out what kind of dairy to buy at the grocery store.  There are a lot of different options! Some labels say natural, others say healthy. I have broken it down to 4 different options and I look for these key words on the label – no added hormones/antibiotics, organic, and grassfed. 

You can basically break it down into 4 different choices.

1.  conventional dairy

     - typically given antibiotics, hormones, and feed grown with pesticides

2.  non hormone/non antibiotic  dairy

     - the label might read “cows not treated with rBGH or rBST growth hormone”

     - animals were never given hormone treatments

3. organic

    - look for “100% organic” or “USDA organic” on label

    - no antibiotics, hormones are given to the animals

    - no exposure to artificial pesticides or GMO’s

    - animals are given organic feed

    -  animals must be allowed access outdoors.  

4.  grassfed

     - no antibiotics or added growth hormones are given to animals

     - animals are fed grass and forage

     - animals must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season

Raw dairy milk is actually one more option.  But it is not legal to buy raw milk in all states.  It is not legal in North Carolina where we live. 

What do I buy?

I used to be intolerant to dairy and could not eat if for about 2 years.  My body can handle dairy again. I actually have more energy with adding animal protein back into my diet.  But I am very careful about what dairy I put into my system.  I only purchase organic or grassfed dairy for two reasons.  The first reason is I want to stay away from the added growth hormones/antibiotics. . RBGH and rBST are genetically engineered growth hormones given to animals to increase milk production. My body does not do well with anything genetically modified. The added hormones cause breakouts, PMS, fatigue, and much more.  The second reason I buy organic or grassfed dairy is because of what the animals are given to eat. Conventional and just non hormone (not organic) dairy animals are fed genetically modified corn.  And again, my body does not do well with genetically modified foods in my system.  So it is important to me to buy organic and grassfed dairy.

What should you buy?

I would suggest staying away from conventional dairy – especially if you are a woman.  Who needs any extra hormones? Look for the hormone free or not treated with rBST labels.  And if it is important to you to avoid all GMO’s then look for organic and grassfed dairy options. 

Your food budget:

Organic and grassfed dairy are more expensive that conventional and non hormone.  Look for items on sale and then buy multiples and stock up.  You can also make homemade yogurt. It is super easy and does not have the extra additives that are in regular yogurt at the store. Your health is so important so it is worth it to budget a little more for quality dairy products.



Are GMO's bad?

What is a gmo?

GMO stands for genetically modified organism.  These are plants and animals that have had their DNA disrupted and altered. They are crossbred with other plants and animals viruses and bacteria. 

Why do some people/organizations say that gmo’s are good?

- Gmo crops are resistant to herbicides and pesticides and bugs.

- foods can be manipulated to add more nutrients

- increased production of food which can be given to people in 3rd world countries

Why are gmo’s bad?

- The FDA has not done testing on the safety of gmo’s. That means that they do not know what long term effects gmo’s could be having on our bodies.

- Gmo’s are not the same product.  Gmo corn is not the same makeup as non-gmo corn.  Your body likes real food and it knows that gmo’s are not something found in nature.   Therefore if you eat gmo’s, your body can look at gmo’s as toxins or an allergen, which leads to inflammation, which leads to sickness.  

- Gmo’s can lead to the creation of super weeds.  Which would then mean more pesticides.

What should we buy at the grocery story?

- Buy organic or foods with the “non-gmo project verified” label. 

- Stay away from processed foods, unless it it has 5 ingredients or less and you can pronounce all of the ingredients.  More than 80% of processed foods contain gmo’s.

- The 4 biggest gmo crops in the United States are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed.  Try and avoid products with these ingredients, unless they have a label of organic or non-gmo.  If you are especially sensitive, keep in mind many items are made from corn such as vinegar.

- When buying fruits and veggies, read the code on the sticker.  Stay away from produce that has a 5 digit code beginning with #8. These are genetically modified.  A 5 digit code beginning with #9 has been organically grown. And a 4 digit code means the produce was conventionally grown and sprayed with pesticides. 

GMO’s in other countries

- Gmo’s have been determined unsafe and banned in more than 60 countries around the world.  Some of these countries include Australia, Japan, and those in the European Union. 

GMO labeling in the future

.  There are ongoing political battles concerning the future labeling of all foods that contain gmo’s Hopefully someday soon all food will have a label that is more transparent and lets us know exactly where that food originated.

Is Coffee Healthy?

Is coffee healthy? Some people say yes and some say no.

There are many benefits to drinking coffee. It provides antioxidants and nutrients. Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than anything else.  It can even lower the risks of some types of cancer and type II diabetes.  The caffeine gives you energy and ups your production and just makes you feel happy.

Coffee can also be bad for you.  Non quality coffee beans can be full of toxins and pesticides.  The caffeine messes with your metabolism and cause a rush in blood sugar and then a crash.  It is not good to add a large amount of sugar and creamer to your coffee.  You also have to be careful with coffee if you are celiac or gluten sensitive. There could be cross contamination with coffee beans and grains.  

So do I drink coffee?  Yes.  I was actually intolerant to caffeine and could not drink it for a few years.  Now that I can have it again, I really appreciate a good cup in the morning.  But I would not drink just any cup of coffee.  I find quality beans, preferably organic.  I add gelatin (from grassfed cows) for protein. This added protein helps keep my blood sugar more stable.  I also add coconut oil and butter.  I know this sounds gross!  But it is actually really smooth and creamy.  Here is the recipe to just try it!

1 cup of coffee

1 tbsp gelatin (from grassfed cows)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp organic grassfed butter

¼ tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in blender.

Let us know if you like it!


Eating Out with Food Allergies/Sensitivities

I used to love going out to eat- trying new foods, not having to cook, and socializing with friends.

Then I was diagnosed with food sensitivities. Going out to eat was no longer fun. It became very stressful and caused a lot of anxiety. I discovered I had food sensitivities before the gluten free menu was in so many restaurants.  But even when you follow a gluten free menu and ask lots of questions, there can still be cross contamination. I am so sensitive that if the waiter touches some bread and then hands me a fork, the gluten will transfer to my hand and get into my system. 

I have have had to change my mindset about going out to eat. I no longer go to a new restaurant to try new food. I am going to socialize and enjoy the atmosphere. Sometimes I even eat before I go out and just order a water. I am obliviously less tempted to order something when I am full. This used to be difficult but now I'm just used to it. I also bring snacks in my purse in case I do get hungry.

I do research before I go out to eat. I google different restaurants menus online.  There are many restaurants that have all of the ingredients typed out online and info about specific allergens. 

I order the simplest dishes. I do not order dressing and sauces or even gluten free pasta because I do not know all of the ingredients used. I order a lemon to squeeze over foods or plain oil and vinegar. 

I ask a lot of questions about the ingredients in a meal and how it is cooked. I also ask for replacements or substitutions. I am finding waiters and waitresses are becoming much more knowledgeable about food allergies/sensitivities. 

I really enjoy cooking. So most of the time I invite friends and family over to my house. Then I can control the ingredients and where the food comes from. But sometimes it is a nice treat to eat out. I just try and make sure I am prepared.